Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
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20,000th start up loan as scheme passes £100 million for entrepreneurs

The Start Up Loans Company has now offered more than £100 million to entrepreneurs wanting to set up their own business. 

An entrepreneur in Stratford-upon-Avon looking to start a business making Shakespeare accessible to children through animation, is set to receive the 20,000th government Start Up Loan.

Melissa Mailer-Yates, 55, who is also a portrait artist, has been offered £6,000 after she submitted an application and business case to the Start Up Loans Company, funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

In addition to awarding the 20,000th loan, the Start Up Loans Company has now offered more than £100 million to entrepreneurs wanting to set up their own business.

Melissa will use the loan to finance Shakespuss & Co Ltd, which is developing animated characters aimed at introducing children to Shakespeare’s plays. The idea came from stories she read to her children. Stockists in Stratford have already shown considerable interest in her products and a launch is planned for December 2014 in time for Christmas.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

The economic hardship we’ve experienced over the last few years has not stopped the flow of business ideas and people wanting to start up their own companies. This British entrepreneurial spirit, backed by our loan scheme, will help create the iconic companies of the future. Reaching this milestone shows how fertile the ground is for enterprise.

The people behind these start ups are not only making an important contribution to the future growth of our economy, but also providing an inspiration to countless others who may have the next big idea just around the corner.

Business Minister Matthew Hancock said:

This government is determined to make Britain the best place in the world to start and grow a business. We are backing aspiration like no government before and our Start Up Loans help Britain’s budding entrepreneurs unleash their potential.

Today’s start ups are tomorrow’s global leaders and that’s why it is so important that the Start Up Loans Company provides not only the funding, but also mentoring to help starts ups thrive. Start ups are a key part of our long term economic plan to build a brighter and better Britain.

Shakespuss founder Melissa Mailer-Yates said:

I have extensive international interest in my product, and this seed-funding has given me the opportunity to bring it to market. Hopefully it will lead to children all over the world dragging their parents to the UK to visit the birthplace of Shakespuss, and subsequently result in a younger generation keen to explore the wonders of Shakespeare and the English language.

Chairman of the Start Up Loans Company, James Caan said:

I’m delighted that we have managed to reach the 20,000 loans landmark. This significant milestone is a great example of all the good work the team at the Start Up Loans Company are doing to help aspiring entrepreneurs of all ages across the country realise their dreams. We are proud to be part of Britain’s economic revival and we will continue to strive to help the scheme grow. Hopefully it will only be a matter of time before we are celebrating the 30,000th loan.

The government has set a target of awarding 30,000 loans with a total value of £151 million through the Start Up Loans scheme by 2015.

Notes to Editors

  1. For more information on Start Up Loans please
  2. For regional or local authority statistics, and regional case studies please contact Jason Raj in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills press office on 020 7215 5978.
  3. To date, there have been 20,874 Start Up Loan offers made to entrepreneurs, with a total value of £110,086,603, and the average Start Up Loan is £5,300
  4. Start Up Loans was established by Lord Young, the Prime Minister’s Enterprise Advisor, and created within the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
  5. In addition to the 20,000 Start Up Loans offers, entrepreneurs are also benefiting from the New Enterprise Allowance which was targeted at benefits claimants thinking of starting their own business.
  6. Start Up Loans is one of a range of government-backed access to finance schemes that are being brought together under the British Business Bank initiative. The British Business Bank enables finance markets to work better, helping entrepreneurs turn business ideas into reality.
  7. The government is introducing legislation to help make the UK the most attractive place to start, finance and grow a business. The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill will help to build a stronger and fairer economy by supporting small businesses as they compete. It will foster and back the entrepreneurial spirit and build on the UK’s reputation as a fair and trusted place to do business.
  8. In April 2014, the government introduced the new Employment Allowancewhich is giving up to £2,000 back to businesses: 450,000 small businesses will now pay no national insurance at all.
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