The Start Up Loans Scheme 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. As well as financial backing all loan recipients are given access to a mentor, free training events and exclusive business offers. The scheme funds businesses in every sector, including tourism businesses.
SWIG Finance is the South West delivery partner for the fund and has so far supported over 820 businesses in the region to access over £5.8 million in funding. Almost 200 Cornish start ups have launched so far thanks to the fund, including the Fish House restaurant in Newquay.
Launched in 2014 by Paul and Elise Harwood, the business has had a fantastic first year trading. Having worked as a chef since 1999 with previous experience as the Head Chef at Rick Steins Café in Padstow as well as Assistant Executive Chef at the Seafood Restaurant Group, Paul wanted to open his own establishment and focus on local, fresh produce.
Paul’s wife, Elise manages the front of house at the café as well as the administrative elements of the business. The husband and wife team made an application to SWIG Finance for a Start Up Loan to help fund the costs of renovating the building and received support during the business planning phase from SWIG Finance mentor, Graham Ashton.
Paul said: Graham was a massive help from the start. He mentored me through taking on a business loan, getting me to believe in myself and converting an empty shell into my own fish restaurant in my home town of Newquay.
Find out more and apply for the fund here.