Two entrepreneurs based in Bristol have been awarded £22,500 in Start Up Loan funding via SWIG Finance to launch their new branding agency.

Siena Dexter and Kieran Katwala’s business, Naked Ape Brands, take a human-centred approach to brand positioning by combining disciplines of social science with design and qualitative testing to helping to build emotionally intelligent consumer brands.

Naked Ape Branding

Naked Ape Brands has an award-winning team of 7 employees (including Roger the security dog), each bringing considerable experience to the table. Siena herself has worked with some high-profile organisations, such as Imperial Tobacco and Moon Pig.

Whilst the brand is at very early stages, its ambitions are high, and plans are in place to grow the headcount and acquire a commercial office space in the next 1 – 2 years.

Of the funding, Siena commented “At first, I found the application documents daunting, I have very little experience of accounting, but I quickly saw how much control I had over my budgeting and planning when it was all laid out so clearly. SWIG was unbelievably supportive from the very start. I was assigned a dedicated business advisor who helped me turn my vision into a tangible, measurable business plan and realistically plan for the first year of my business.

I firmly believe that to succeed at anything takes full, unwavering focus – it would have been impossible to dedicate myself to launching and running a successful agency if I had one foot in someone else’s business. This Start Up Loan means that we can fast-track the launch of our new business and get it off the ground much quicker.”

SWIG’s Start Up Loans Team Leader, Mark Thayre, added “Siena is an astute entrepreneur and clearly has an excellent understanding of what makes a brand successful. The team at Naked Ape Brands is brimming with talent and SWIG are looking forward to watching the brand flourish”.

About SWIG Finance

SWIG Finance is a non-profit company that supports viable South West businesses that can’t secure sufficient funding from their bank. By empowering underserved SMEs to overcome their financial barriers, we are working to create a more balanced financial ecosystem.

We’re growing every year. In 2022/23, we lent £14m to 478 businesses, helping to create and secure over 1,000 jobs and generate £44.6m in social impact. Download the report here.

If you’d like an informal chat about your funding requirements, get in touch with our friendly and professional team to see how we can help: / 01872 227 930.