By Daniel Hunter

One thousands businesses have been created through the Start Up Loans Company, business secretary Sajid Javid announced, after the 1000th loan was awarded to Sophie Rees in Neath Port Talbot.

Ms Rees decided to launch her own all-British, handmade homeware store called Home Bird after graduating when she realised she didn't want to work for someone else.

Alun Cairns, Minister of State for Wales, met Sophie during a visit to Swansea today along with the team behind the StartUp Britain Bus Tour. The five-week bus tour, supported by the Start Up Loans Company, is touring Britain to boost numbers of new businesses by providing inspiration and support to budding entrepreneurs. So far over £6 million has been loaned out in Wales to aspiring business owners like Sophie.

Business Secretary Sajid Javid, who oversees the Start Up Loans scheme for the government, said: “I’m delighted that we’re celebrating the 1,000th Start Up Loan in Wales today as the StartUp Britain Bus Tour arrives in Swansea. We are making it easier to get advice and provide finance so that thousands of hard working people have the chance to fulfil their ambitions and start their own businesses.

“Britain’s success is built on the work of entrepreneurs — their dreams and ambition. That’s why we are backing them, and making the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a business.”

Wales Office Minister Alun Cairns said: “Sophie has shown just what can be done when ambition and opportunity come together and I am delighted that the UK Government has been able to support her.

“I want to make sure that every part of Wales benefits from the economic recovery and those who work hard get the opportunities they need to succeed.

"By helping people turn their dreams of starting a small business into reality, this Government is helping to create the next generation of entrepreneurs and job creators."

Tim Sawyer, CEO of Start Up Loans said: “We’re delighted we have reached this first landmark in Wales. Sophie is a great example of the plethora of business talent thriving across the UK. We will continue to encourage the people of Wales to realise their business dreams and help us reach another landmark in the foreseeable future.”