TAILOR-MADE furniture company Woodwork by Will in Comber among 12 SMEs selected as Champions of British Startups by Start Up Loans, part of the British Business Bank.
Newly named Ambassador to Northern Ireland, Will Smith, took out two loans totaling £ 6,000 last January to set up his business and make his creations available for sale to others.
The help he received in investing in essential machinery, including a table saw, allowed the company to increase its capacity and take on larger projects sooner than expected.
As of 2012, the Start Up Loan Program has provided more than 88,000 loans worth £ 790 million.
In Northern Ireland alone, 1,367 loans totaling £ 11,183,564 were processed, an average of £ 8,181 per small business.
Will was among 12 Start Up Loans ambassadors honored at a virtual event attended by UK Small Business Minister Paul Scully and British Business Bank Chairman Lord Smith Chocolate.
Minister Scully said, “Start-up loans are an important pillar in our efforts to improve every part of the country and provide opportunity for hard-working, dynamic people regardless of their background.
“From canned wine to woodwork, bridal wear to camel milk, this year’s startup loan ambassadors reflect the incredible diversity and creativity of entrepreneurship across the UK and will lead our mission to make the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a business close .”
Richard Bearman, Managing Director at Start Up Loans added, “The small business community has had a turbulent and challenging year, which makes it all the more important that we celebrate and promote the sector.
“The breadth and diversity of this year’s ambassadors for Start Up Loans shows that aspiring entrepreneurs from all walks of life can be successful even under the most difficult of circumstances with the right support and care.”
And Green & Black’s Jo Fairley said, “When you’re starting a business, it really helps to have champions in the form of mentors and support who can not only help keep your passion going, but their wisdom as well Bringing financial insights to help you grow your business.
“It’s great to see the British Business Bank positively formalizing this through the team of Ambassadors 2021/2022 who can use the lessons of their success to empower and inspire the next round of great UK startups.”