County Durham leads North East uptake of Start Up Loans

County Durham and Newcastle entrepreneurs have shared £1.5m of funding so far, with £5.1m going to the North East under the scheme

County Durham and Newcastle are leading the North East in uptake of the Government’s Start Up Loans, the latest statistics show.

As the national scheme surpasses £100m delivered to more than 20,000 entrepreneurs, new data shows how loan uptake is spread across the region.

£5.1m of Start Up Loans have been distributed to North East-based entrepreneurs, and County Durham shows the strongest appetite with 223 loans totally £894,346.

Newcastle followed in the regional standings with 151 loans totalling £651,681, and North Tyneside received 125 loans totalling £437,625.

The area with the slowest uptake of Start Up Loans was Darlington, which shared £231,760.

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

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.”

One North East entrepreneur who has taken advantage of the Start Up Loans scheme is 22 year-old Hannah Proctor from Billingham.

Hannah started her fashion company Aphrodite and Ares, through the support of a £6,300 Start Up Loan, following years of trading vintage clothing items on eBday and Etsy.

She even turned down a University place to concentrate on the business.

Aphrodite and Ares launched in March of 2013 with a collection of one-off vintage pieces, hand-crafted items, and new garments with a vintage feel. Within a week, Hannah had entirely sold out of stock.

Overwhelmed with the demand for her collections, Hannah applied to Transmit Start-Up Loans to fast-forward the business and secured £6,300 to fund the photography and computing equipment she needed to operate independently, and to pay for new stock and advertising.

Hannah said: “The loan really propelled the business. Without it, I would have taken a long time to get to this point. I now not only have the energy and vision, but also the resources to drive it forward.”

The concept behind Aphrodite and Ares is to create the same shopping experience for customers buying vintage wear as you’d expect when buying brand new garments from an online store.

Hannah recognised there can be a lot of guesswork involved when buying from vintage websites, and customers can often end up disappointed.

The young entrepreneur works from an office within her house, and has converted her garage into a stock room where she keeps her clothing.

Hannah attended the Start Up Loans Showcase at HUB Westminster with Vince Cable during Global Entrepreneurship Week on Wednesday November, 20.


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer