The British Business Bank’s Start Up Loans programme has announced that it has delivered £66m to new and early- stage businesses in the South West region since 2012.

40% of the lending – some £26.4m – has been provided to over 2,500 new businesses through local delivery partner SWIG Finance, a growing CDFI (Community Development Finance Institution) which has offices in Truro, Exeter and Bristol.

SWIG Finance has worked with the Start Up Loans programme since it started in 2012, with demand reaching an all-time high in the last year when the company approved 473 loans worth nearly £6m – a 40% increase on the previous years’ lending.

SWIG’s Managing Director, John Peters, said “The South West is an incredible breeding ground for new business talent and we have seen demand surge like never before in the last year. Start Up Loans is a fantastic scheme through which we provide business support, finance and mentoring to hundreds of our region’s new entrepreneurs every year, many of whom would otherwise have struggled have get the help they needed to get off the ground.”

One of SWIG’s recent Start Up Loan customers is Luke Craven, 25, from Malmesbury in Wiltshire, who took out a loan of £21,000 in January 2021 to launch BiJimini Spices – a company that creates interesting and tasty spices made from crickets and insects. More information about Luke’s Start Up Loan journey can be found at here.