Money (6)
The Start Up Loans Company has now lent more than £200 million to microbusinesses in the UK after agreeing its 36,000th loan.

The lender, set up by government in 2012, says its loans have contributed to the creation of more than 50,000 jobs, with more than 16,000 of those people being formerly unemployed or economically inactive.

The Start Up Loans Company provides loans of up to £25,000 at 6% APR, while also offering mentoring and support to each recipient.

Minister for small business, Anna Soubry, said: "Start Up Loans have given people from all walks of life the opportunity to swap the nine-to-five for a new career as their own boss. It's great to see that over £200m has gone to budding entrepreneurs and we want to take that even further. That's why the government pledged to treble the Start Up Loans programme, so that a total of 75,000 loans will help create jobs, drive the economy and turn people's dreams into reality.

"A fifth of all loans have been provided to young people (aged 18-24), with 47% of these loan recipients not formally in employment, education or training (NEET).

The loan that took Start Up Loans Company over the £200m mark went to cold-brew coffee liqueur business, Cold & Blac. Tem Mellese, Cold & Blac's founder, said: "Access to finance is one of the main barriers in starting up your own business, which is why Start Up Loans was essential in enabling us to get Cold & Blac off-the-ground giving us the capital to support both initial production and marketing costs. The scheme also has the added benefit of proving each business with a mentor, which meant I had support and someone on hand to help me keep my feet on the ground."

Tim Sawyer, CEO of Start Up Loans Company, said: "SMEs are often referred to as the lifeblood of the economy, and start-up businesses play a pivotal role to this. That's why it's great to see such a demand for finance from Britain's would-be business owners.

"Reaching £200 million is an important landmark for Start Up Loans Company. Over the last four year our loans have helped create more than 50,000 jobs and for every pound invested we have returned £3 to the economy overall. 2016 looks set to be another busy year for microbusinesses and we are proud to be able to support this growth."