A government-backed programme has provided a significant financial support to London-based entrepreneurs from Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.
New figures show that almost half of all loans from the government-backed Start Up Loans scheme have gone to BAME entrepreneurs since 2012.
In total, the programme has lent over £50m to ethnic minority entrepreneurs in the capital.
The Start Up Loans scheme provides personal loans for business purposes of up to £25,000 at a 6% fixed interest rate per annum and offers free dedicated mentoring and support to each business.
The aim of the Start Up Loans scheme is to ensure that viable start-ups and early-stage businesses have access to the finance and support they need in order to thrive.
Michaela Alexander, from Bow, Tower Hamlets, also used a Start Up Loans to help start her business. She took out a £10,000 loan in 2016 to write and launch her own children’s book series, Miles & Mia, named after her own two children, after she noticed a lack of ethnic diversity in children’s story books.
Following the success of Michaela’s first book, Miles & Mia A-Z, which won two gold awards for Best Children’s Book at the Junior Design Award and the Mumii Family Awards, Alexander has focused her time on championing diversity in literature and will launch a second book next year.
She told The Voice “I feel very lucky that I have been able to harness two very important passions in my life, my children and the need for more diversity in children’s books, to make my dream of writing my own books come true.
“I was completely new to running a small business and self-publishing a book. It has been a demanding but brilliant journey, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without the initial funding and support from Start Up Loans.”
WORDS: Vic Motune for The Voice Online