A young business owner in Cornwall has shared what a start up loan meant to him when he started out aged just 20.

Joel Jones, now aged 24, from Helston applied for a £20,000 Start Up Loan as part of the British Business Bank.

His funding was one of more than 15,000 loans worth £100 million that has now been paid to business owners aged between 18 and 24 years old since the programme launched in 2012.

In Cornwall there have been 140 loans paid out, worth a combined £951,317.

Joel’s loan, provided through SWIG Finance, was to convert a classic VW campervan into a mobile cocktail bar and launch his business, The Mixer, aimed at weddings and parties.

Joel said: “At the time I applied I was only 20 and just out of university. No one else was going to help me.

“For me, the Start Up Loan was really the only way I was ever going to be able to make it work.

“Of course, it’s scary thinking about starting your own business and applying for a loan but my attitude was, ‘I can either think about doing this for years, or I can just get on and do it’.

“I knew the van would be something everyone could relate to. There are thousands of horse-box-style mobile bars out there and I knew this would be different.”

With the Cornish wedding season just about to begin for this year, Joel is looking forward to a busy 2024 and enjoys being surrounded by happy people, all keen to try one of his drinks crafted to celebrate local ingredients.

“I never would have been able to do it without the Start Up Loan, so I would definitely recommend looking into it,” he added.

Falmouth Packet: The Mixer mobile cocktail barThe Mixer mobile cocktail bar (Image: Thomas Hare Photography)

Of those to receive a Start Up Loan across the UK, the most popular industries to launch a business in include retail (£8.5 million), hospitality (£5.8 million) and arts and entertainment (£2.5 million).

The £100 million funding milestone comes as the Start Up Loans programme launches a new information campaign aimed at students considering entrepreneurship as a career option, so they can make their business dreams a reality.

Students simply need to scan the QR code on posters and screens around their college and university campuses, or surrounding area, to access the information.

The Start Up Loans programme helps people start or grow their business and is part of the government-owned British Business Bank’s remit to making finance markets work better for smaller businesses. They can borrow up to £25,000 at a fixed interest rate of 6% per annum and repay the loan over one to five years. The programme also provides 12 months of free business mentoring.