Evaluation of the Start-Up Loans Programme – Year 2 Report


The Start-Up Loans programme aims to encourage entrepreneurship across the UK, increasing the rate of business creation, and improving the survival prospects of new businesses. The programme provides loans and mentoring support to individuals of all ages looking to start a business: since 2012 the programme has delivered over 50,000 loans, providing more than £350m of funding to start-ups and early-stage businesses across the UK. The British Business Bank commissioned SQW to undertake a longitudinal evaluation of the programme, and has now published the results of the second year of the study.

Led by SQW, working with BMG Research, with inputs also provided by Aston University, the evaluation is based on a ‘quasi-experimental’ approach, comparing the outcomes of a 'beneficiary group' of individuals supported by the programme with a 'comparison group' of similar entrepreneurial individuals that have not received Start-Up Loans support. The purpose of the evaluation is to assess the economic impact of the programme, whether it is appropriately targeted, and whether economic return from the programme can be enhanced.

The key findings from the Year 2 report include:

  • the programme has a significant and positive effect on the start-rate of beneficiary businesses
  • the programme has had a significant and positive effect on the likelihood that businesses increased their sales from year to year
  • the programme represents positive value for money, with economic benefits estimated at around three times higher than economic costs, based on evidence from the beneficiary group.

The third and final evaluation report will be completed in 2018.

For more information regarding the evaluation, please contact SQW's Project Director, Jonathan Cook

Download report here