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21 June, 2019 - 12:32 By Kate Sweeney

East of England nets almost £33m in British Business Bank loans since 2012

Lifeline24 Reena and Simon Budd

British Business Bank’s Start Up Loans programme has lent £500 million to UK small businesses since it was set up in 2012 – with almost £33m going to the East of England.

One local recipient who has turned a loan into a success story is Simon Budd, founder of Lifeline24 in Norwich. From an £8k acorn he grew a business oak worth more than £3.5m.

A former online broker in the City, Budd used his £8,000 start up loan to set up the business – a personal alarm service for the elderly that ensures they get help at any time of the day at the press of a button.

Worn as a pendant around the neck or wrist, the alarms have saved thousands of lives across the UK and Ireland and the business now has an annual turnover of £3.5 million. 

Lifeline24’s services are soon to be rolled out to local councils across England and may even be extended to America, fulfilling Budd’s goal of making a charitable cause into a profitable business.

Budd said: “Quitting my job as a broker in the city to start up Lifeline24 has been both rewarding and challenging, and it is no exaggeration to say it would not have been possible without Start Up Loans. 

“It has been immensely fulfilling to see our personal alarm service grow to now protect nearly 30,000 people across the UK and Ireland.

“Being able to say that our product has saved lives and that we may be able to take it to America is testament to the role that a company like Start Up Loans can play in helping small businesses grow; without them we would not have been able to turn this life saving service into a profitable business.”

Of the 63,920 loans issued to fund small business across the UK, 4,265 went to aspiring business owners in the East of England worth £32.5m, with the average loan amounting to £7,628.

UK-wide, of those who received a loan, almost two fifths were women, almost a fifth came from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities (BAME), and over four in 10 were unemployed when they applied.

Kelly Tolhurst, Small Business Minister, said: “This half a billion pound funding milestone is a great cause for celebration and a clear demonstration of our modern Industrial Strategy in action – supporting people to start and grow a business, creating good jobs and increasing the earning power of people throughout the UK.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and I’m particularly pleased to see that so many women and entrepreneurs from black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds have benefited from this government-backed scheme. 

“This record funding is backing the UK’s entrepreneurial spirit and enabling people across the country to follow their passions and start and grow a business.”

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