Introducing…The Start Up Loans creative industry advisory group

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Following the launch of Creative England’s new partnership with the British Business Bank’s Start Up Loans scheme in June, we’ve already discovered and supported some impressive creative industry start-ups. The new government-backed scheme for the creative industries offers borrowing of up to £25,000 at a fixed interest rate of 6% per annum, repayable over 1-5 years. As well as providing access to early financing, the loans will also include 12 months of post-investment mentoring support for recipients from our dedicated business advisors.

To support the delivery of the new loans, Creative England has engaged an advisory group comprised of figures from across the creative industries in the UK, helping shape the promotion of the Start Up Loans for the creative industries. Not only will their specialist knowledge and expertise ensure opportunity to access a loan is available to the widest possible network, but their own company activity outside of the scheme is crucial in supporting and uncovering creative talent from the many voices that make up our industry.

We’ve liaised with a few members of the group on who they are, what they do and why they’re supporting the Start Up Loans scheme.

Ben Wynter – AIM

AIM is the not-for-profit trade body, owned by its members, that exists to help and support the UK’s powerful independent music community, which makes up a quarter of the recorded music market. Now in its 22nd year, AIM’s members range from the largest, most respected record labels and associated music businesses in the world to DIY or self-releasing artists and the next generation of entrepreneurs in music – including 4AD, Black Acre, CTRL Music, Dirty Hit, Domino Recording Co, Hospital Records, Killing Moon Group, FAMM, Ninja Tune, Numbers, Transgressive, Secretly Canadian, Supernature, Warp, and XL Recordings.

Why they’re supporting Start Up Loans

“At AIM we are committed to levelling the playing field for music entrepreneurs. Following on from the British Business Bank’s findings that Black, Asian and ethnic entrepreneurs have received less access to free advice, we created a free tier of AIM membership to level the playing field for all. The next step for us at AIM is to create, highlight and inform of as many different financial pathways as possible that are available to music entrepreneurs. The Start Up Loans initiative is a great way for music entrepreneurs to retain their rights whilst injecting some much needed capital into the company without sacrificing equity to do so. If managed correctly this loan could be a great way of developing an early stage company to create, build and win for the long term.”

John Stenhouse – University of Essex

At Essex we’re a bunch of risk-takers and opinion-makers, stereotype-breakers and world-shakers, we are all about seizing the right opportunities, making the most of opportunities as they present themselves and developing growth and innovation.

Why they’re supporting Start Up Loans

“Working with Creative England Start Up Loans, we aim to deliver the information our business community requires to benefit the local Essex economy, encourage investment into innovative seed businesses, identify and nourish the potential for sustainable growth and support businesses capable of employing a highly skilled workforce.”

Mel Rodrigues – Gritty Talent

Gritty Talent is a Bristol based company delivering smart, inclusive technology for the TV and Film sector to help bridge its talent gaps. We connect emerging on and off-screen talent with decision makers in TV and Film. The Gritty Talent team is made up of a mix of TV, technology and talent professionals who all believe that the creative industries should better reflect the diverse and dynamic audiences that they serve. We believe in potential over perfection, and are committed to seeking out and developing creative talent who aren’t fully reflected/included in the mainstream media.

Why they’re supporting Start Up Loans

“As a recent founder of a start-up, I understand how tough it can be to get your idea off the ground. I found the process of raising finance particularly daunting, but it was through mentoring and advice from a variety of sources, including Creative England, that I was able to carve out a solid finance strategy, access funding and loans, and bring my idea for inclusive talent technology to life. I think the Start Up Loans Scheme is an essential tool for entrepreneurs in the creative space. It will enable founders with big exciting ideas to scale and go to market quickly. I hope this scheme helps remove some of the financial barriers that the best creative talent sometimes have when launching off!”

Brandon Relph – Studio BE

Studio BE is a disruptive technology company at the intersection of traditional and digital media. We believe content should be multi-platform and digital by default. We specialise in creating high-quality content targeted at under 24 year olds. We are led by our 21 year-old CEO, Brandon Relph, an award winning entrepreneur, who is an expert in understanding young audiences.

Why they’re supporting Start Up Loans

“I was extremely excited to see Creative England launch a scheme alongside the Start Up Loans Company. The creative industry is a very tough business to forecast and understand but the fantastic team at Creative England are able to bridge that gap and offer valuable resources and advice to help entrepreneurs succeed. I can’t wait to meet some of the people this scheme has helped support.”

Patrick McCrae – ARTIQ

ARTIQ’s mission is to build a bridge between the art and business worlds to create a thriving, sustainable, cultural economy. Founded in 2009 and based in London, ARTIQ has expanded to work across the world, building a client base that includes multinational banks, cutting-edge tech firms, luxury hospitality groups and elite universities. To date, we have generated millions for the creative sector by collaborating with businesses.

Why they’re supporting Start Up Loans

“I’m passionate about business and the power of good ideas. Funding can be one of the simplest and most difficult barriers to overcome in business and I think that the Start Up Loans Scheme has the potential to support and drive long term meaningful change by helping great ideas overcome this initial obstacle.”

Peter Taylor – Goldsmiths Centre

Located in the heart of Clerkenwell, the Goldsmiths’ Centre, founded by the Goldsmiths’ Company, is the UK’s leading charity for the professional training of goldsmiths. Since 2012 we offer support and training for jewellers, silversmiths, and those working in the allied industries to develop successful and rewarding careers. We offer managed workspace, skills training courses, events and exhibitions giving an insight into the goldsmiths’ craft. Our aim is to create a skilled workforce, boost the economy and promote craftsmanship in the UK.

Why they’re supporting Start Up Loans

“The Start Up Loans scheme is vital to help champion creativity and support career makers to build thriving start-up businesses. As a charity that supports jewellers, silversmiths and the allied industries often in their first stages of business, we understand how the COVID-19 pandemic has recently impacted the market place, making access to funding to develop talent even more important. The Goldsmiths’ Centre is thrilled to be supporting this scheme!”


Interested in applying for a loan? Find out more and check your suitability here.

Loans are strictly for 18s and over. Personal loans for business use only. Finance is subject to status. Terms and conditions apply.

Creative England Limited is a UK-wide delivery partner of the Start Up Loans scheme run by The Start-Up Loans Company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of British Business Bank plc.

Creative England Limited is a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales with registration number 07432947 and its registered office is situated at 1st Floor, College House, 32-36 College Green, Bristol, BS1 5SP.

Creative England Limited is not a banking institution and does not operate as such. It is not authorised or regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) or the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

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