Kent proves a hotspot for start-ups

Kent proves a hotspot for start-ups

The Start Up Loans Company has given over £5m in loans to more than 1,000 start-up businesses in Kent as the county continues to attract new businesses.

Since launching in 2012, the Government-backed scheme has helped support more than 40,000 business ideas across the country, and has helped over 17,000 people who were formerly unemployed or economically inactive.

The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills formed the company in 2012, which provides loans of up to £25,000 at 6% per annum, in addition to offering a free mentoring service to each business it supports.

Fashion retail business, Monks & Co Clothing is just one Kent business to benefit after launching in November 2013 with the support of a £8,000 loan.

With years of experience in the menswear fashion industry, founder Amy Barker decided to fulfil her ambition and set up her own online clothing business.

Today, Monks & Co Clothing offers premium unique brands through both an online shop and a bricks and mortar store on Swan Street, West Malling.

The business is currently experiencing 70% growth year on year and was named best new business at the 2015 Drapers Independents Awards. 

Barker said: “There are so many exciting business ideas waiting to get off the ground in the South East but it’s no secret that access to finance can be one of the toughest parts of starting up.

“The Start Up Loans Company was instrumental in launching my venture and the continued support I’ve received from my mentor has provided me with a valuable sounding board throughout my business journey.

“I’d encourage any aspiring business owners in the South East to grab the opportunity with both hands and make the most all of the help and support available to them.”

David English, chief marketing officer at the Start Up Loans Company, added: “Small businesses are often referred to as the lifeblood of the economy, and start-ups play an instrumental role in this.

“That’s why it’s great to see such a demand for funding from potential business owners up and down the country.

“Achieving £20m of lending in the South East is a key milestone for the Start Up Loans Company and we are keen to help many more business ideas come to fruition.”