New figures from the Start Up Loans Programme show that of the £500 million lent to UK small businesses since it was set up in 2012, over a fifth – 22% – of which went to applicants from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities.

The region with the highest proportion of loans going to applicants from BAME backgrounds was London (52%), followed by the West Midlands (27%) and the East of England (19%).

BAME applicants supported by the Start Up Loans scheme have used the funding to set up businesses in a wide range of sectors.

  • Michaela Alexander, founder of children’s books Miles & Mia. Michaela started writing children’s books after struggling to find stories to read to her children that featured characters from ethnic backgrounds. Her first book, Miles & Mia: A to Z, was published in 2016 and she has received orders from across the world. A follow up book, Miles & Mia 1 to 10, will be coming out this year
  • Jacqueline Hall, founder of Dale Coaching. After being made redundant and then turned down from various job interviews, Jacqueline, a former teacher, decided to pursue a career as a life coach. Inspired by her love of people and listening to their problems, Jacqueline launched her own online company to offer self-help and development coaching in areas ranging from executive leadership to youth assistance. Using a £2,500 Start Up Loan for marketing, website development and travel costs to meet clients, Jacqueline has now grown Dale Coaching to include a more structured Family Business MOT diagnostic programme that helps analyse team performance.
  • Keisha Henry, founder of Gold Lazer.  As a student, Keisha often needed a laser cutting service for her university projects but the company that provided the service was always very busy. She realised there was a market for this business and decided to set up her own business offering cutting services to small businesses in the creative industries. She primarily works on jewellery bags and pattern cuttings and also offers her services  on set designs and installations for major museums in London.

Amanjot Johal, 33, Birmingham

Amanjot was inspired to create his own intimate and exclusive bar after struggling to find any bars in Birmingham where he wanted to drink and meet friends. He spotted a gap in the market and realised there wasn’t anywhere in Birmingham that specialised in gin and combined exceptional mixology knowledge with table service and a relaxed atmosphere.

With the help of a £25,000 Start Up Loan, he cleared out an existing building, soundproofed the ceiling and built in a seating area to create what has now been voted the best Gin Bar in the World. 40 St Paul’s has since expanded to provide gin tastings, classes to pair gin with chocolate and cheese, and has also become a sought-after location for private hire in the area.


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