St. Leonards-based Let’s Do Business Finance hits £15m start up loan milestone.

Let’s Do Business Finance (LDBF), a not-for-profit social enterprise based in St. Leonards, is celebrating a major milestone. It has passed the £15m mark for loans provided to local companies under the Government’s Start Up Loans scheme. This Government-initiative was launched in 2012, with the mission of ensuring that alternative finance and mentor support are accessible to all fledgling entrepreneurs.  Integrated into the British Business Bank two years ago, the scheme is set to run until 2021.

Now in its 15th year of trading, LDBF over the past 5 years alone has supported 3500 entrepreneurs, primarily across the South East region, in accessing finance. This includes businesses within Hastings, with Girls that Scuba and Creative SpaceScience both benefitting from the scheme. Delivering inclusive economic development with a customer-focused approach, Start Up Loans have helped people to start businesses, increase job opportunities and provide goods and services to the local economy. LDBF also provides investment and growth loans to established businesses looking to finance the next steps to scale-up.

Mike Trotter, Head of Lending at LDBF Start Up Loans, said “With bank lending to small businesses continuing to fall, thousands are looking for alternative sources of funding to get their business off the ground. These personal loans are a life-line for small businesses and provide the right support at the right time. It’s a fantastic scheme to be part of.”

The entrepreneurs that have taken lending past the £15m mark are Corin and Lesley Jeavon, founders of vegan toffee brand Jeavons Toffee. The husband and wife team began trading earlier last year and have used the Start Up Loan to support the launch of the world’s first vegan toffee factory, ‘Toffee Towers’ in Newhaven:

“LDBF has been so helpful and has had a huge impact on the growth of our business. Since the loan, we have been able to make a start on building our very own vegan toffee factory – a dream we’ve had for a long time which is finally starting to become
a reality.”

Sean Dennis, Managing Director of LDBF, said “As one of the first delivery partners of Start Up Loans in 2012, it is hugely rewarding, having reached this landmark, to reflect on the incredible amount of new entrepreneurship that the scheme has stimulated in the region and the legacy that has already been created.”

“The £15m milestone reflects the success of the Start Up Loans programme which has enabled us to deliver loans to entrepreneurs across Sussex, Kent, Essex, London and Hampshire together with mentoring and other business support.”

Start Up Loans have made a valuable contribution to driving business growth as well as delivering an economic return of up to £53m – this staggering amount has helped to create and safeguard a minimum of
3700 jobs.

• Businesses wanting to find out more should visit the LDBF website.

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