Thriving Birmingham start up scene to benefit from £1 million seed funding boost

Startup Direct, the founding partner of the Government’s Start Up Loans scheme providing seed finance to British entrepreneurs, has chosen the thriving Birmingham start up scene as the destination for its first operation outside London.

A total of £1 million in seed finance has been designated to fund around 200 new start up businesses in Birmingham over the next twelve months, which will have a significant impact on local entrepreneurs and support the city’s growing status as a start up hotspot.

Startup Direct, based at the Innovation Birmingham Campus, is targeting talented individuals who wish to start a business in any sector but lack the capital and often the experience to make it happen. As well as offering loans of up to £15,000 at low interest rates, Startup Direct matches every entrepreneur with a mentor who will be on hand to help and guide them as they develop their business over the first year. The company currently has over 200 mentors on board nationally and is aiming to recruit 50 Birmingham based mentors to support businesses in the city. Entrepreneurs also have access to workshops and networking events, one to one business coaching and a business helpline.

James Pattison, CEO of Startup Direct, said: “Birmingham is the perfect location for our first base outside London, with its flexible working spaces, affordability and the growing cluster of creative and digital businesses, particularly around the Innovation Birmingham Campus.

“This £1 million to be lent over the coming year is going to have a significant impact on the local start up scene, which relies on new and reliable sources of seed finance. We are seeing a real coming together of talent and ideas in Birmingham, alongside an enthusiasm for entrepreneurship from investors, the City Council and the Government who recognise that start ups have a vital role to play in the economic recovery.”

Case study

West Midlands based duo Mike & Ben Caldwell have each received Startup Direct funding of £7,250 for their business Street Media Distribution Ltd. (www.streetmedia-distribution.co.uk). The company identifies interesting and iconic products from around the world and brings them to the UK market place, as sole distributors. Initial focus will be on products within the automotive, sporting and leisure fields.

Street Media is based near Droitwich and both Mike and Ben are keen motorbikers and extreme sports enthusiasts.  Using this sporting connection, they have already secured the distribution rights to two American brands, Rockwell Watches and Casemachine Phonecases. The Startup Direct funding will help them acquire the necessary stock to move the business to the next level.

Ben Caldwell said, ‘There are many designers and manufacturers around the world who would like to bring their products to the UK marketplace.  Our unique blend of the right business background and an intrinsic knowledge of what consumers in this field want, suggests that this is a great business opportunity.  We are very excited at the prospect of growing this business, particularly on the back of an improving economic climate.’

To apply for a start up loan, visit http://loans.startupdirect.org

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