Start Up Loan FAQs

About The Loan

What is a Start Up Loan?

A Start Up Loan is a loan to help you start your business. The loan is a personal loan given for business purposes. Your loan application will be considered according to the needs of your business.

The Start Up Loans Company is a UK-wide, government backed scheme, which offers a repayable loan to individuals over the age of 18 who have a viable business idea but no access to finance. The scheme funds businesses in every sector. As well as financial backing all loan recipients are given access to a mentor, free training events and exclusive business offers.

Transmit Start-Ups is part of a network of official Start Up Loans delivery partners across the UK who administer the scheme. We are here to guide you through the application process, including advice on creating a business plan and cashflow forecast. If you receive a loan we will then support you through your journey, providing you with your business mentor.

What is a Delivery Partner?

Transmit Start-Ups is classed as a ‘Delivery Partner’ for the national Start Up Loans initiative.  We operate across all of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The central Start Up Loans Company has appointed approximately 40 Delivery Partners, covering all regions in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales to deliver the programme. These Delivery Partners are organisations who are actively engaged with people, specifically within the business arena. They have the infrastructure necessary to help administer loans across all industry sectors and regions.

How much can I borrow with a start-up loan?

Start Up Loans are available from £500 up to £25,000 but final amounts are agreed on the basis of need and will be determined by your business plan. Our average loan value is around £7,000.

Where there is a business need, multiple business partners can individually apply for a Start Up Loan of up to £25,000. There is a maximum limit of £100,000 to any one business. Each partner’s application will be assessed separately, and if successful, each individual will be personally liable for their loan.

If I have business partners can we all apply?

All owners or partners in a business are able to individually apply for a Start Up Loan. Each partner can apply for up to £25,000 each, with a maximum of £100,000 available per business.

Because Start Up Loans are personal loans that are used for business purposes, each partner is required to make a separate application and provide their own personal survival budget to demonstrate individual affordability. However, you can submit the same business plan and cash flow forecast.

It is also important to remember that no matter what happens with your partnership or business, if your application is successful but the business does not succeed, you will each be individually responsible for making your own loan repayments.

Do I need a business bank account to receive a start-up loan?

No. A Start Up Loan is a personal loan, so a personal bank account is fine.

What is the repayment period for a Start Up Loan?

You are required to pay back your Start Up Loan within 1-5 years. The exact term will be agreed as part of the application process. You can also repay the loan back early in part or in whole.

What happens to the interest paid on the loan?

The interest received is recycled back into the Start Up Loans programme to help support more entrepreneurs and new businesses.

What is the interest rate on a start up loan?

The interest rate on a Start Up Loan is fixed at 6% per annum.

Is a Start Up Loan a grant?

No. A grant is a non-repayable fund provided by an individual or an organisation for a particular purpose.

Grants are often awarded to non-profit entities, as well as businesses or individuals. The process for applying for a grant for a specific business will almost always include some level of compliance and reporting, which will then be assessed for eligibility by the grant maker. You can apply for a grant from the government, the European Union, local councils and charities. Generally you will not need to pay a grant back, but there is a lot of competition and they are almost always awarded for a specific purpose or project.

The difference between a grant and a Start Up Loan is a Start Up Loan must be repaid.

Note on grants: A grant is a non-repayable fund provided by an organisation, for a particular purpose. Grants are often awarded to non-profit entities, as well as businesses or individuals. The process for applying for a grant for a specific business will almost always include some level of compliance and reporting, which will then be assessed for eligibility by the grant maker. You can apply for a grant from the government, the European Union, local councils and charities. You won’t need to pay a grant back, but there’s a lot of competition and they are almost always awarded for a specific purpose or project.

Can I only have one Start Up Loan?

Individuals can only have a loan for one business, from one Delivery Partner. If you are starting a business with others who are eligible to apply for a Start Up Loan, you can all submit applications for the same business.

Start Up Loan recipients are, however, able to apply for a second loan for the same business – for instance if an unexpected opportunity arrises or you need it as part of a structured growth plan for your business. If you have received a Start Up Loan from Transmit Start-Ups and wish to apply for a second loan please contact us and we will provide further details.

Do I lose my Job Seekers Allowance if I receive a Start Up Loan?

Yes – this is most likely. You should discuss with a member of staff at your Job Centre.

Start Up Loan Programme Eligibility

Who is eligible for a Start Up Loan?

The following criteria apply to be eligible for a Start Up Loan:
– You currently live in England, Scotland or Northern Ireland
– You are 18 years of age or older
– Your business is or will be based in the UK
– You are a current UK resident
– You have the right to work in the UK
– You are starting a new business or have been trading for up to 24 months
– You are able to pass our credit checks and demonstrate that you can afford to repay the loan
– Your business type and loan purpose is eligible under the terms of the scheme

Are there any types of business which are excluded from applying for a Start Up Loan?

Most business types are eligible to be funded with a Start Up Loan, however we are not able to support the following business types:
– Weapons
– Chemical manufacture
– Pornography
– Drugs
– Illegal activities
– Banking and money transfer services
– Private investigators that do not hold the appropriate licence
– Gambling and betting activities
– Property investment
– Agents for third parties, where a third party earns the majority of the revenue or you would only be earning a commission (not to be confused with franchise businesses which are eligible to apply).

Are there any loan uses which are excluded?

Start Up Loans are designed to finance the initial costs of starting and developing a business, and therefore cannot be used to fund the following activities:
– Debt repayment
– Training, qualifications or education programmes
– Investment opportunities that do not form part of an on-going sustainable business

I am an international student living in England, Scotland or Northern Ireland - can I apply?

If you have a Tier 4 Visa, then you are NOT eligible to apply for a Start Up Loan, as self-employment is excluded. If you are able to secure a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa, then you may be eligible to apply.

Credit Eligibility

What is a credit report?

A Credit Check is a way for lenders to ensure they are providing finance to potential customers who will be able to afford a loan. By using personal details you provide, a Credit Report can be produced by a Credit Reference Agency (there are a number of agencies providing these services, including Experian and Callcredit). You can get FREE access to your own personal credit report with Experian’s 30 day trial offer.*

Credit Reports provide a record of your credit history and include details such as any mortgages, credit cards, utility bills and mobile phone contracts. At Start Up Loans, we use this report, as well as your Business Plan, in our assessment of whether we can lend to you.

You can contact the following credit reference agencies currently operating in the UK; the information they hold may not be the same so it is worth contacting them all. They will charge you a small statutory fee.
– CallCredit, Consumer Services Team, PO Box 491, Leeds, LS3 1WZ or call 0870 0601414
– Equifax PLC, Credit File Advice Centre, PO Box 3001, Bradford, BD1 5US or call 0870 010 0583 or log on to www.equifax.co.uk
– Experian, Consumer Help Service, PO Box 8000, Nottingham NG80 7WF or call 0844 4818000 or log on to www.experian.co.uk

*A monthly fee of £14.99 applies after your free Credit Expert trial. You may cancel during your 30-day free trial without charge. New customers only. Free trial period starts on registration – further ID verification may be required to access the full service which may take up to 5 days.

Why do you need to run a credit search?

As part of your application we carry out a credit search to check that you are eligible for the Start Up Loans scheme. As responsible lenders we need to make sure that you are not going to get into any financial difficulty from taking out the loan.

Do you look at my credit score?

No. We do not take into account your credit score. We look at your credit history to assess the affordability of the loan.

Will a search show up on my credit report?

Yes. Two entries may show up on your credit report; the first is an ID search, the second search is related to your application for credit in the form of a personal loan.

Will the search affect my credit score?

In most cases, when we run a credit search it will have a slight impact on your credit score.

Why do you look at my personal credit history when the loan is to start a business?

Start Up Loans are issued as personal loans, for the purposes of investing the money in starting your new or early-stage business. We therefore need to understand your personal credit history, along with your business idea, in order to assess affordability.

What credit issues might exclude me from applying for a Start Up Loan?

The Start Up Loans scheme is committed to lending responsibly, assessing based on affordability. Therefore, there are certain credit impairments where the Start Up Loans Company cannot lend:
– You are bankrupt or you have been discharged within the last two years
– You have an Individual Voluntary Agreement (IVA) or a Trust Deed or have had one within the last two years
– You are currently in a Debt Management Plan or a Debt Arrangement Scheme.

If any of the above apply to you, or you are concerned about your credit history, you can access your own credit record through a credit reference agency, where there may be a small charge. You can also learn how to improve your credit from the Citizens Advice Bureau and the Money Advice Service.

What is an unsecured loan?

An unsecured loan, also known as a personal loan, is a loan that is issued and supported by your credit history rather than being guaranteed by any type of property. When you take out an unsecured loan the lender has no claim on your financial assets if you don’t keep up repayments.

If I am declined, can you tell me why?

The agreement we have with the Start Up Loans Company, Credit Reference Agencies and the SULC’s finance partners (The Enterprise Fund t/a Business Finance Solutions) means that we cannot disclose the details of what we see in the credit report. If you would like to discuss anything in more detail we ask you to provide a copy of your own report.

What happens if I do not repay my Start Up Loan?

Start Up Loans are unsecured loans, which means you won’t need to worry about putting forward any assets or guarantors to support your loan application. However, you will be required to repay the full amount and the associated interest in line with your loan agreement, if your application is successful. A Start Up Loan is not a grant.

Start Up Loans are personal loans used for business purposes regulated under the Consumer Credit Act 1974. Start Up Loans must be repaid in full over an agreed term of one to five years and failure to meet the agreed repayments may result in formal action being taken including, but not limited to an application to issue a County Court Judgment (CCJ) or the referral of the customer’s case to an approved Debt Collection Agency.

The Application Process

Can I get help with my start-up loan application?

Yes! We know that application forms can sometimes be daunting, so we’re here to help you out with getting your ideas into the right shape.

Just fill out our quick registration form to give us an overview of your business and we’ll get in touch to provide any assistance you need with submitting the full loan application.

To help you get your business idea into the right structure, after you’ve completed the online questions we’ll provide you with three templates you can fill out to provide more detail on what you plan to do. As mentioned above, we’ll help you work through these if you need us to.

What is the start-up loan application process?

Our application process has three steps:

Step 1:
Complete the registration form. We’ll be in touch by email within 2-3 days to let you know if you are eligible to apply.

Step 2:
If you are eligible we will introduce you to one of our business advisors who will help you with your business plan. We will also ask you for some ID documents before completing your application for review.

Step 3:
We will let you know if your application is successful. If so, the loan will be transferred to you and will be able to access our free ongoing support services.

How long does the loan application process take?

After completing our application form, if you are eligible for the start up loans programme we will contact you within 2-3 days with some documents that enable you to tell us more about your business idea.

Once we receive these documents back from you we aim to review your application within 3 days and provide initial feedback.  We will also gather some ID documents from you.

If your application and business plan require further work we can help you with this. There is no firm timescale on this part of the process, but it can typically take anywhere from 2 days to 2 weeks depending on the level of work required.

Once we have pre-approved your loan application, your ID documents are submitted to our financial partner who will issue a loan agreement for you to sign and return. This part of the process typically takes 7-10 working days.

How do you assess my application?

There are three main areas that we assess during your application:

Credit worthiness: As part of your application, we need to carry out a credit check to review your past and current financial behaviour. While a poor credit history will not necessarily prevent you from securing a Start Up Loan, performing credit checks forms part of our commitment to responsible lending. It also ensures that you only borrow what you need and will have monthly repayments that can be managed comfortably.

Personal affordability: The loans we provide are unsecured (we do not ask for security against the loan) personal loans for business use only. You are personally responsible for repaying your loan in full, by continuing with your monthly repayments, even if your business ceases to trade.

Business viability: A key factor in our lending decision is ensuring that your business is going to generate enough profit to help you meet your monthly loan repayments. To help us assess this, you need to demonstrate that there is sufficient demand for your products and services and that you can reasonably achieve all of the goals set out in your Business Plan and Cash Flow Forecast.

Mentoring & Business Support

What is a mentor?

A mentor is an individual with business experience who will provide support and guidance to help make your business a success. Once you have a loan, you will be able to access our ongoing business support services, including mentoring, and discounts on useful services to start your business.

What makes a successful mentor?

The ability to provide guidance, along with the desire to support the next generation of entrepreneurs. A good mentor will not tell you how to run your business; instead they will assist you in learning how to make plans and strategies that will enable you to make the right decisions for your business.

How much support can I request from my mentor?

Your mentor will offer two hours of support in the first three months after receiving your loan. After the first three months, your mentor will still offer one hour per month of support. You will be provided with more detail during your application for a loan.

Do I continue to receive support if I go into default?

Yes. If you go into default you can seek support from Transmit staff or from their mentor. However, it is not the mentor’s responsibility to ensure that an individual keeps up with repayments on a Start Up Loan, and irrespective of the circumstances of your mentoring relationship, you are still responsible for paying back a Start Up Loan according to your agreed repayment plan.

How do I become a mentor?

If you would like to become a mentor, please contact us and we’ll be in touch with more information.

New Enterprise Allowance (NEA)

What is the difference between a loan from the New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) scheme and the Start Up Loans Programme?

The NEA scheme and the Start Up Loans Programme are mutually exclusive packages of support offered by government to help people set themselves up in their own business.

The NEA scheme is a programme under the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to provide individuals on certain benefits in England, Wales and Scotland with support in preparing to start their own business. At the end of the programme, individuals will receive an NEA weekly allowance and the opportunity to apply for a Start Up Loan. While the Start Up Loans Company manages the delivery of loans referred through the NEA scheme, DWP oversees the mentoring and support function.

Individuals interested in joining the NEA scheme must go through DWP by applying to their local Jobcentre Plus. Further information on how to apply for the NEA scheme can be found on the DWP website or through your local Jobcentre Plus office.

Please note that if you approach Start Up Loans directly without first going onto the NEA scheme, you will not be eligible for the NEA weekly allowance.

Can I receive a Start Up Loan if I have an NEA Loan?

No. Loans referred through the NEA scheme are Start Up Loans, and you cannot have two Start Up Loans running concurrently.

If you take a loan through the NEA scheme, you may later be able to apply for a second Start Up Loan through the Start Up Loans Programme when your business is ready for more funding. In this instance you must:

i) demonstrate the business case for more funding;
ii) seek further pre-application support through the Start Up Loans Programme;
iii) not have been in arrears for 3 consecutive months; and
iv) not have been trading for more than 24 months.

The loan granted through the NEA scheme will need to be paid off prior to or at the point of drawing down the second Start Up Loan. Therefore, the loan granted under the Start Up Loans Programme will likely be issued in two tranches: one to pay off the existing loan and one with the remaining funds.

Where possible, you must go back to the Delivery Partner who granted your first loan through NEA. This is the organisation listed on your loan documentation.

If I’m coming through NEA, how much can I borrow?

It is the same as under the Start Up Loans Programme. The Start Up Loans Company lends on the basis of need. The average loan size is £6,000, but the final amount will be determined by your business plan. The viability of an applicant’s business plan and cash-flow, and their ability to repay the loan will be taken into account when making lending decisions.

What happens if I received an NEA loan and am/was in arrears? Can I still apply for a Start Up Loan later?

You must bring your account current, and not have been in arrears for 3 consecutive months prior to your application. To note, Start Up Loans are only given to businesses that have been trading less than 24 months. If your business has been trading for a while, please check that you will still be eligible after this time.

If I am referred through the NEA scheme and get a Start Up Loan, can I still access the NEA Allowance?

Yes, you can. You cannot be on Jobseeker’s Allowance, but are able to receive the NEA Allowance.

If I am declined for a Start Up Loan, can I access NEA support?

Yes, you may apply through the NEA scheme at the Jobcentre Plus. However, please be aware that the loans through the NEA scheme are also Start Up Loans and will be held to the same level of scrutiny as they would be under the Start Up Loans Programme.

If I am declined for an NEA loan, can I access a Start Up Loan?

Loans through the NEA scheme are also Start Up Loans. Where possible, you must go back to the Delivery Partner you applied with through NEA.

Money Lent: £22,714,477
Entrepreneurs Backed: 2311