Let’s Do Business Finance (LDBF), a not-for-profit social enterprise in its 15th year of trading is celebrating a major milestone after passing the £15m mark for loans provided to local companies under the Government’s Start Up Loans scheme.

Start Up Loans Team

Start Up Loans Team – Clockwise from Top Left – Jay Hancock, Rachel Hunt, Mike Trotter, Dawn Horsley, Phil Pocock.

St Leonards-on-Sea based LDBF, has supported over 3500 entrepreneurs primarily across the South East region to access finance over the past 5 years alone. Delivering inclusive economic development with a customer-focused approach, Start Up Loans have helped people to start businesses, increase job opportunities and provide goods and services to the local economy. LDBF also provides investment and growth loans to established businesses looking to finance the next steps to scale-up.

The entrepreneurs that have taken lending past the £15m mark are Corin and Lesley Jeavon, founders of vegan toffee brand Jeavons Toffee.

Corin and Lesley Jeavon of Jeavons Toffee

The husband and wife team began trading earlier last year and have used the Start Up Loan to support the launch of the world’s first vegan toffee factory, ‘Toffee Towers’ in Newhaven:

“LDBF has been so helpful and has had a huge impact on the growth of our business.  Since the loan, we have been able to make a start on building our very own vegan toffee factory – a dream we’ve had for a long time which is finally starting to become a reality.”

Sean Dennis, Managing Director of LDBF, said “As one of the first delivery partners of Start Up Loans in 2012, it is hugely rewarding, having reached this landmark, to reflect on the incredible amount of new entrepreneurship that the scheme has stimulated in the region and the legacy that has already been created.”

“The £15m milestone reflects the success of the Start Up Loans programme which has enabled us to deliver loans to entrepreneurs across Sussex, Kent, Essex, London and Hampshire together with mentoring and other business support.”

Start Up Loans have made a valuable contribution to driving business growth as well as delivering an economic return of up to £53m – this staggering amount has helped to create and safeguard a minimum of 3700 jobs.

Ben and Sophie Crittenden, Stark Restaurant

Another beneficiary is MasterChef semi-finalist Ben Crittenden and his wife Sophie who received a Start Up Loan to launch Stark restaurant in Broadstairs, Kent. The couple had been working towards obtaining their own restaurant for many years to secure a future for themselves and their two young daughters. Plans are now underway to open their second restaurant this summer.

Mike Trotter, Head of Lending at LDBF Start Up Loans, said “With bank lending to small businesses continuing to fall, thousands are looking for alternative sources of funding to get their business off the ground. These personal loans are a life line for small businesses and provide the right support at the right time. It’s a fantastic scheme to be part of.”

Looking for support to grow your business?

Email the Start Up Loan team at loans@ldbgroup.co.uk