Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Are you a UK based African Designer Looking for funds to Start Your Fashion Business


If you’re a small business owner or thinking of starting a business, money is probably your biggest concern. You may be wondering if there are any funding available for start-ups. The simple answers is yes, but getting your hands on it is a complicated and rather stressful process. There are countless schemes, each with their own set of criteria, which you can apply for when you’re on the verge of starting. Business money is out there to be claimed, yet it is estimated that Black Minority groups are the least people to grab such opportunities. The criteria is very straight forward, you must be British or have ILR or Tier 1 Visa and aged 18-30 years old, frequently asked questions has been posted below as I believe you might have some questions about this government scheme. 

I hope serious emerging African designers will take this opportunities to tap into such exciting business support and funding.

See FAQ after the jump.

Q:What are Start-Up Loans?
A:Start-Up loans are loans aimed at young entrepreneurs. This scheme is aimed at 18-30 year olds, who are living in England and looking for finance to start a business.

Q:When can I apply?
A:You can register now to apply for a loan. When the loans become available in your region, your registration will automatically apply you for a loan. We have full coverage of all postcodes in England.

Q:How do I apply?
A:You can apply by clicking on the Register tab on the Start-Up loans Facebook page which will take you to our website form, or apply directly via the form at

Q:Am I eligible?
A:To apply for a loan you should be at least 18 years of age (at the time of your application) and can be up to 30 years of age (when you apply for the loan), living in England, and interested in starting a business.

Q:What is the Application Process?
A:When you apply through Start Up loans, we will identify the right loan provider (Delivery Partner) for you, serving in your region. The Delivery Partner will then work with you to identify what stage you’re at in your idea process, and help you present your business proposal to a panel where you will pitch for a loan. If successful, you will receive the funding for the loan which will be administered by the Delivery Partner directly. Mentoring will be provided with the loan, and often during the pre-pitch process as well, giving you additional support and guidance as you go through an entrepreneur’s journey.

Q:How much can I borrow?
A:This will be agreed between yourself and the delivery partner. The average loan size will be around £2,500, this being provided by the government. However, the final amount will be determined by the business plan. There is no definite limit.

Q:What kind of loan is it?
A:The Start-Up loan is a personal loan, which means if 4 or 5 people from the same company apply for a loan, all are eligible for an individual loan up to invest in their business.

Q:If I receive a Start-Up loan, what are the payback terms?
A:You will be required to pay back the loan within five years at a fixed-rate of interest – currently 6%. Capital repayment holidays are available, but interest must be covered monthly throughout.

Q:Do I need a business account to receive a loan?
A: No – setting up a business account is not necessary, a personal account is fine. However, this will be to the delivery partners’ discretion, and they will help set up business accounts if necessary.

Q:If I already have a business set-up, can I still apply for a loan?
A: Start-up loans are accessible to anyone who had a business in its initial phase – no existing debt and without the infrastructure to deliver. There is flexibility in this, and we take a positive view on offering loans to existing start-ups.

Q:Will I receive any practical support?
A:In addition to your loan you will also receive business support and mentoring to help develop your idea, regardless of where you are in the development cycle.

Q:What else do I receive?
A:As well as the loan, business support and mentoring, applicants will also be eligible to enrol in resources from a number of our Global Partners, all of whom will be announced on our Facebook page and Start Up Loans website, and communicated to you once you have received your loan. These global partners include Regus, PayPal, and Intuit.

Q:What is included in the Regus Package?
A: 6 months free access to Regus’ Virtual Office Package and access to most of their business lounges across the world. In addition, applicants will also receive a free copy of the Start-Up Loans kit, which offers all the guidance you need to start a business, plus more than £500-worth of offers on products from business cards to websites, netbooks and work suits.
Regus UK: £20m of support, providing 30,000 young entrepreneurs in England access to its global network of business lounges and administrative support to help them succeed

Q: What is included in the Intuit Package?
A: 2 years of access to their online cloud accounting software.

Q: What is included in the PayPal package?
A: From the PayPal group, we have three exciting offers:PayPal: Reduced transaction fees for six months (from 3.2% to 1.4%)
eBay: Three months free eBay store and no insertion fees
Magento Go: Six months’ free e-commerce package

Q: When will I be able to receive a start up loan?
A: Our Delivery Partners are active across England. Once you complete the form on our website you will be contacted by the relevant partner in your area.

Q: I have registered for a Start-Up loan but have not heard anything?
A: Since we announced the extension of eligibility up to 30 years, we have received a large number of applications which have been sent to Delivery Partners. You should be contacted within four working days of completing the form on our website. If you have not been contacted after four days, please email and we will do our best to help you.

Q: Who are the delivery partners?
A: Delivery partners are points of contact who assist loan applicants with support to develop their ideas, and assess their business plan to decide whether the potential loan recipient is successful or not. Here is a full comprehensive list of our delivery partners

Q:Will applicants be contacted for more details?
A:Yes – all applicants will be contacted by the most appropriate Delivery Partner. However, while the network of Delivery Partners is being put in place, all applicants will receive updates from Start Up Loans Company with news, information and offers through Facebook and Twitter pages, and by email.

Q:Who will be deciding who gets the loans?
A: Every Delivery Partner has their own arrangements for determining which entrepreneurs will receive loans, but the underlying criteria are set by the Start-Up Loans Company to ensure a consistent approach is followed across the country. In most cases the young entrepreneur will be expected to make a pitch to a panel. Support will be provided to applicants to ensure they are able to make the best possible pitch to the panel.

Q: What is the waiting period?
A: This may vary, but from the point of application to hearing back, it is 4 working days (working days do not include weekends or public holidays).

Q:How will the loans be handed out?
A: Loans will be transferred to the applicant’s business bank account. The Delivery Partner will help the young person open an account if they do not already have one.

Q:I’m an International Student, living in England, between 18 – 30. Can I apply?
A: If you have a Tier 4 visa then you are not eligible to apply for a Start Up Loan as self-employment is excluded. If you are able to secure a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa then you may be eligible to apply

Q:What is the difference between a loan by The New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) and a Start-Up Loan?
A: The NEA loan is part of a package of support aimed at helping people on benefits to start their own business, which includes business mentoring support to help participants develop a business plan. You can only apply for an NEA loan if you have been on the scheme and had your business plan approved. A loan from The NEA is capped at £1,000, with a higher interest rate than a Start-Up Loan and is paid back over three years. A Start-Up Loan, on the other hand, does not technically have a cap on the loan size, and has a lower interest rate (6% nominal which equates to around 6.2% APR representative). Further information on The NEA can be found on the DWP website:
The decision to take out a Start Up Loan is ultimately the individual’s. Our Delivery Partners are well placed to provide you with advice. The Start Up Loans Company would always encourage individuals to receive independent financial advice when making decisions to take out a loan.

Q: Do I lose my Job Seekers Allowance if I recieve a Start-Up Loan?
A:Yes – this is most likely

Q:Can I recieve a Start-Up Loan if I have a loan from The New Enterprise Allowance?
A:The NEA scheme and the Start Up Loans programme are mutually exclusive packages of support offered by government to help people set themselves up in their own business. The individual elements of those packages are not interchangeable.

For more information check out:

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