The British Business Bank has extended its start-up loan scheme to Northern Ireland, where it has already provided more than £12m of support to around 1,000 local entrepreneurs since its launch in 2012.
The scheme for start-ups provides personal loans for business purposes of up to £25,000 at a fixed interest rate of 6% per annum and offers free dedicated mentoring for 12 months and support for each business.
The bank will now lend to start-ups that have been in business for up to three years, while second loans will be available for eligible companies that have been in business for up to five years (previously they only applied to those who have been negotiating for two years).
The expansion follows the 2021/22 spending review, in which the government pledged to provide 33,000 loans to the program over the next three years.
Susan Nightingale, Director of Decentralized Nations (UK Network) at the bank, said: “Expanding the program will allow us to work with businesses that may have just started when the pandemic hit or are ready to consolidate and grow their businesses now that they are back on their feet. We want to make sure these companies are not left behind.
“We have always been committed to providing support and funding to small businesses with entrepreneurial ambitions across all industry sectors. Having provided over £12 million in loans to Northern Ireland alone underscores our continued efforts to help people from diverse backgrounds achieve their business goals.
Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg said: “Northern Irish people are among the most enterprising in the UK, which is particularly true when it comes to micro businesses, which make up 89% of the business world. .
“By building on the £12 million in start-up loans Northern Irish businesses have already received, we can harness this pro-business culture and channel it into a bright future filled with jobs, growth and sustainability.”