Start Up Loans celebrates 1,500 loans worth more than £13m in Northern Ireland

Tiarnan McKeown weights out the ingredients for his next batch of fresh bread at Glume Bakery in Moira

START Up Loans, part of the British Business Bank, says its programme has facilitated 1,539 loans totalling £13,329,445 to businesses in Northern Ireland since its creation in 2012.

Most loans were made to men, with 974 successful applications leading to investment of £8.5m, while 564 loans were made to females totalling more than £4.7m.

The most popular age range for Start Up Loans in Northern Ireland was 31 to 49 with 798 loans made worth more than £7.5m.

One entrepreneur who benefitted from a Start Up Loan was Tiarnan McKeown, who realised an ambition last September when he opened his own business in Moira.

Glume is a bread and pastry shop which provides a range of speciality sourdough bread and French style pastries, with an emphasis on freshness, quality and seasonality.

Tiarnan used the investment from Start Up Loans to buy kitchen equipment which enabled him to open his business.

He said: “I had been accumulating some equipment on my own but the Start Up Loan really helped me get what I needed to open the business.

“It’s been a lot of hard work to get to this point but when you are working hard for yourself it feels a lot more satisfying.”

Tiarnan had no hesitation in recommending the Start Up Loans programme to other entrepreneurs thinking about realising their own business ambitions.

He added: “It can sometimes be hard for start-ups to get access to finance so Start Up Loans is very helpful.

“The business mentoring you receive as part of the programme is also very beneficial. My skills are as an artisan baker so to have someone mentor me in things like business forecasting has been invaluable.”

In the UK as a whole, the Start Up Loans programme has delivered over 100,000 loans worth more than £941 million.

And given its multiplier benefit of 5.7 times, the overall economic impact of the loans is estimated to be more than £5.3 billion.