£67million in loans have been given to West Midlands start-ups

£819 million has been invested by the British Business Bank in start-ups since 2012.

Its subsidiary, The Start-Up Loans Company, has made over 7,500 loans to West Midlands businesses worth £67million and Cod of Duty was one of them.

Following the redundancy, Matthew Martin and his wife Corina Martin launched the business, a mobile fish and chips food truck in December 2020 using two £17,000 start-up loans.

On the first day they opened, the products sold out within 30 minutes with customers lining up around the block. Today, after a year of business, the couple wants to expand to other villages.

Mr Martin said: ‘During the pandemic I have worked on the front line as a chef for those building Nightingale Hospital. In August the company made changes to the contracts which meant Corina and I were down £5,000.

“We were fed up with our hard work and talent without even receiving a thank you.

“The loan gave us the boost we needed. He made all our dreams come true. This allowed us to buy a van, all our equipment and our stock to get us going. Cod of Duty would still be an idea without him.

The Startup Loan Program offers personal loans for business purposes. Since its conception, it has granted 90,000 loans worth £819 million. Candidates can receive up to £25,000 at a fixed interest rate of 6% per annum and can also benefit from free mentoring for 12 months.

Since 2012, 30% of loans have gone to people who are unemployed or economically inactive. Two-fifths were women and 20% belonged to ethnic minorities.

The program provided 11,408 in 2020/21 with a total value of £137.2m. The bank claims that the economic benefits of the loan are 5.7 times its economic cost.

The British Business Bank says it aims to ensure start-ups have access to support to succeed. Funding is provided by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). During the 2021 spending review, the Chancellor announced her goal of providing 33,000 start-up loans over the next three years.

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