In a series of posts on start-up companies, UK Investor are looking at alternative ways to fund businesses including crowdfunding, angel funding and pension led funding. Today’s posts covers the pros and cons of obtaining finance through a government initiative, the Start Up Loan.

Lindsey Fish is the founder of Little Fish, a corporate events management agency that she started from scratch instead of returning to work as a Marketing Manager in the City after maternity leave. She has recently launched her own event, the Mums Enterprise Roadshow, which is designed to help ambitious mums re-train, find flexible work, start or grow a business.

Lindsey chose a Start Up Loan over other methods of financing for several reasons. She only needed a small amount to cover upfront costs, so asking for a large sum from investors seemed unnecessary, and she wasn’t ready to give away any further equity.

“I liked the Start Up Loan scheme because it judges you on your cashflow and business plans, and the feasibility of success rather than just your personal credit score. Plus, you get support and mentoring for a year which is always great to have.”

When applying for a Start Up Loan, the website states that you submit an application and work with a business advisor to complete your application. It is then reviewed by the Start Up team, and if approved, the loan is yours. But is it really that easy?

For Lindsey, it really was that simple and the process went really smoothly. Her advice is to submit everything on time and take on board the advice of your business advisor.

“I had already done research, created a business plan and attempted a cashflow which they helped me finalise. Plus it helped that I already had Virgin StartUp and Talented Ladies Club on board, so it wasn’t just a pie in the sky idea; I had tangible proof it would work.

“I would recommend it for those who have already done quite a lot in their idea and can prove that it pretty much can’t fail, and if it does have a plan B to make the repayments.”

Start Up Loans are available for any businesses that have been trading for less that two years and based in the UK, and are available for amounts up to £25,000. Interest is fixed at 6% p.a over one to five years. If successful, the Start Up Loans company will put your business in touch with a mentor who can provide guidance and support to help you grow and develop your business.

As a Mum herself, it’s easy to see where Lindsey got the idea for her Mums Enterprise Roadshow Events, which encourage women to start their own businesses and get back into work, should they wish to. Last month, 2015’s Green Park Diversity report was published which showed that, although women now make up 25 percent of FTSE 100 board members, they’re still a minority in the city. Many attribute this to the difficulty of women trying to “have it all”; namely, a family and a career. Returning to work after having a baby can be a difficult transition; but with more and more firms introducing ‘family friendly’ policies, such as flexi time and paternity leave, is it becoming easier for women?

“For me, it wasn’t that I thought I would be at a disadvantage at all but I just felt that it wasn’t worth it. After the charges of commuting, a 25% salary cut if I went back four days and all day childcare some days didn’t leave me with a lot, I knew I could make that small amount I’d have left on my own.

“I do think it must be tough for women returning to their old job, as what may have been their number one priority isn’t any longer. That’s just my opinion though – I’m sure some women can do it all!”

A Start Up Loan has allowed Lindsey to get her business up and running, with perhaps less hassle and more certainty than crowdfunding or angel led funding. For more information on Start Up Loans, visit

The Mums Enterprise Roadshow will launch in 2016. Visit their website here.

Miranda Wadham on 09/09/2015
Previous articleWeak demand causes further slowdown in British manufacturing
Next articleShould You Buy Glencore?