Alternative loan provider Business Finance Solutions is bucking national business trends by helping twice the UK average number of women to start up in business in the North West.
42% of the loans and support awarded to clients of the Start Up Loan programme, delivered by BFS, have been to women. This has grown from a figure of 30% in 2013 and is more than twice the national average of 18% of businesses which are owned or managed by women, this according to figures provided by the 2014 BIS Small Business Survey 2014 which showed that of the 5115 small businesses surveyed by BIS just 18% were ‘women-led’, (defined as controlled by a single woman or having a management team, a majority of whom are women*).
Paul Breen, Director of Business Finance Solutions, said: “The number of women embracing entrepreneurship in the North West is a really encouraging reflection of the 21st century workplace and could have a significant effect on the economy.
“Traditionally women may have been discouraged from starting up their own business by a number of factors, from access to finance to childcare, but our new figures show that women across the region are overcoming these barriers. Women make up 52% of the population so if only 18% of that number are starting up businesses, that leaves a huge amount of untapped potential.
“By making our low interest loans, mentoring and start up support more available and approachable to everyone we have been able to support some incredible women owned businesses to start up, grow and create jobs – from cafés and childcare to taxidermy and retail. Research has also shown that start ups run by women tend to be less likely to fail than those run by men because women are generally more risk averse and tend to avoid some of the pitfalls that can derail new businesses.”
Recent women owned businesses that have received a loan from Business Finance Solutions include:
Darby’s Coffee and Arts Lounge
Mum and daughter team Shirley and Amy Darby used their loan to launch Darby’s Coffee and Arts Lounge on Flixton Road in Urmston. The venue has already established itself as an artistic hub for the town, displaying and selling pictures and photographs by local artists, promoting the music of local musicians and selling handcrafted gifts. Amy said: “Setting up a family business was very exciting for us both but we knew we needed that extra bit of help to get up and running. The team at Business Finance Solutions were able to help us secure the Start Up Loan and are continuing to work with us on our plans expand our services to include offering outside catering for business conferences and parties and helping us to create more jobs as we grow.”
Business partners Rebecca Warwick and Jodie Clough launched one stop pamper party shop Fairy Godmothers Pamper Palace in Radcliffe after receiving a Start Up Loan. The business delivers pamper parties for women and girls, from hen and birthday parties to Prom Queen events and baby showers. Jodie is a qualified beauty therapist, with 16 years of experience and Rebecca has worked as a make-up artist for 16 years. Rebecca said: “Pamper parties have been growing in popularity for the past few years and we knew that this was a great time for us to take our successful mobile model and establish it in a high street location. Thanks to the loan from BFS we have been able to secure the lease and refurbish our venue to a really high standard and we will be looking to explore a franchise route to enable us to grow the business in the long term.”
Dead Things by Kate
Kate Egan used her loan to launch her taxidermy and natural art business, Dead Things by Kate, using only ethically sourced animals, flora and fauna. Taxidermy is currently experiencing a huge revival fuelled by contemporary artists and interior design trends and demand for Kate’s work is growing rapidly. Kate says: “Getting the loan and the advice and support from Business Finance Solutions has meant that I’ve been able to invest in things like a more advanced taxidermy course, materials and chemicals and a camera to photograph my work – all things that will really help me to offer and promote my services to an ever growing number of people. Thanks to the loan I have now been able to turn my hobby into a full time business that works around my family.”
Bella Chic Furniture
Sisters Kim Osborn and Nicola Faizy used their loan from BFS to launch Bella Chic Furniture in Warrington, specialising in bringing old and unwanted furniture back to life. The loan helped to launch their ecommerce website and to build and fit out the shop to a very high spec. They plan to grow their business online and by offering their services to local businesses such as restaurants, hotels and retailers. Kim says: “As sisters, we had dreamed of combining our creative talents and working together for a long time. Securing the loan from BFS enabled us to open the doors to our shop and to launch the website, which has been crucial for our marketing and promotion. We are also really passionate about supporting other local crafts people in the North West, giving them a platform to promote their businesses with us and being a part of a rapidly growing business.”
BFS, which is supported by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority,will see £7.5 million allocated to new start-ups across the North West over the next two years, creating around 1500 new businesses and over 3000 new jobs in the region. With more than £7.5million lent to date, over 1300 BFS Start Up Loan recipients in the North West are now running their own businesses, creating employment and economic opportunities across Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Merseyside, Cheshire and Cumbria. Start Up Loans are available to everyone over the age of 18 in the North West.