FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

No doubt you have lots of questions and we have tried to answer most of the commonly asked ones here. If you have any others, please get in touch.

A Start Up Loan is a loan to help you start your business. The loan is a personal loan given for business purposes.
The Start Up Loans Company is a UK-wide, government backed scheme, which offers a repayable loan to individuals over the age of 18 who have a viable business idea, or are in their first two years of trading, but no access to finance. The scheme funds businesses in every sector. As well as financial backing all loan recipients are given access to a mentor, free training events and exclusive business offers.

Outset Finance is part of a network of official Start Up Loans delivery partners across the UK that administers the scheme. We are here to guide you through the application process, including advice on creating a business plan and cash flow forecast. If you receive a loan we will then support you through your journey, providing you with your business mentor.

Is this a grant? No. A grant is a non-repayable fund provided by an individual or an organisation for a particular purpose. The difference between a grant and a Start Up Loan is a Start Up Loan must be repaid.
The loan value will depend on the requirements of your business. We are able to provide applicants with loans valued up to a maximum of £25,000, however you can borrow as little as £500. Our average loan size is between £5,500 and £10,000.
Anybody living in the UK at least 18 years of age, at the time of registration can apply for a Start Up Loan. You may have already started your business, but you must not have been trading for more than 24 months. You must have the legal right to remain in the UK for the duration of your loan term and the right to be self-employed.

Additionally, you must not have been, or currently be, declared bankrupt and/or have any outstanding IVAs.

Please also note that if you have already submitted an application and been declined by another delivery partner, you will need to consult with them directly in order to reapply.

Check out our full eligibility criteria now.
The loan is available to anyone who is entitled to be in and work in the UK, and who runs or plans to run his or her business from an address in the UK. The programme is also open to EU citizens, or those with a visa to work in the UK, who plan to move to and start a business in the UK. For more information about UK work visas click here.
Yes, as long as your visa permits you to work in the UK, and your business plan is viable to allow you to repay your loan during the length of your stay. Please note that your loan term must end six months before your visa expires.
Applicants for a Start Up Loan must not have been or currently be declared bankrupt and/or have any outstanding IVA’s.
Start Up Loans are available to anyone who has an early stage business. If you have started trading you cannot have been trading for more than two years.
If you are starting up a new business whereby you sign a franchise agreement, take and hold stock, and earn revenue on the total value of the items sold, then yes, you are eligible to apply. The only money, which should be returned to the Franchisor, is a small % fee on sales and/or the start-up franchise fee.

Pyramid schemes are ineligible to apply for the loan. An example of this activity would be if you are only earning a small commission on sales or acting as an agent for a corporate client.
Some industries or types of business are not eligible for the Start Up Loan scheme. The loan may not be used towards:

a) Pornography or other ventures of an overt sexual nature that require a licence to operate

b) Onward credit, investment or lending


c) Money transfer services

d) Certain private investigation/detective activities


e) A business whose primary purpose is engaged in gambling


f) Working as an agent for a third party (franchises can be acceptable, please refer to the previous question for more information)


g) Repaying any existing personal debt, business loans of a company owned in whole or in part by the applicant or to service the loans of any other business

h) Funding training, qualifications or education programmes that are needed before the business can be started or that are not core to the success of the business

i) Funding investment opportunities that does not form part of an on-going sustainable business. For example, providing the deposit for a buy to let property


j) Buying part-equity in a business that has been trading for more than 24 months

k) Funding a hobby without transforming into an on-going, sustainable business

l) A business that is involved with e-cigarettes in any way

If you think your business might fall within one of these categories, please contact us before submitting your application.

Yes, individuals can only receive one loan. This ensures the Start Up Loan scheme can support as many people as possible in starting their own business. If you are starting a business with others who are eligible to apply for a Start Up Loan, you can all submit applications for the same business.
If there are several partners in the business then each person is eligible to apply for an individual loan, which can all then be directed towards the business. In this event, you must each complete a separate application form with your personal details, though any non-personal documents related to your business (like your business plan or cash flow forecast) just need to be submitted once. Please note, if there is more than one individual applying for a Start Up Loan, this must be reflected in your cash flow forecast.
Great! The next step is to complete the registration form on our website, which you can find here. Someone from our team will be in touch within 48 hours to answer any questions you might have and give you the support you need to finalise your application.
It is our policy to contact all clients within 48 hours of registering their interest for a Start Up Loan, so we apologise if this hasn’t happened. If you have registered on our website, you should have received an email confirming your registration. If you did not receive this email, please triple check your spam folder in case it is in there, or alternatively try registering again on our website. Alternatively, you can also contact us using one of the below methods so that we can follow this up for you:

Email: info@outsetfinance.com Phone 0800 3898 188 Online: send us a message via our contact us page.
Once you have registered with Outset Finance, someone from our team will call you within 48 hours to find out what kind of help and advice you need in order to get your business started.

If you already have a business plan and a ready to apply, then you can gather the rest of your supporting documentation and submit your application online.

If you aren’t quite ready to apply yet, or don’t currently have a business plan in place, we can support by giving you access to our interactive start-up support tool, Outset Online. This offers a stack of useful information for starting a business, including video tutorials, online calculators and other downloadable resources, and you can build-a-business-plan as you go. Then, when you’re ready, we can walk you through the application process.
Every loan application is unique. Once you have completed the online application form and sent us all of the correct supporting documentation, we endeavour to work as quickly as possible to review your application.

Once you have submitted your application, you may be contacted for more details or with questions regarding your paperwork. Please take care to upload all necessary supporting documents with your application, as incomplete applications cannot be considered.
Once your loan has been approved, there will be some final paper work requiring your review and signature. We’ll also need you see certified versions of some of your documents, if you haven’t done this already. Once these items are received, we will contact you directly to let you know that the money is available to be drawn down.

Please note, you do not have to draw down your loan immediately, you have three months from the date of your loan being approved.
This is a copy of a primary document, that has been stamped / signed or otherwise endorsed by a relevant authority (like your local post office) to verify that it is a true copy of the primary document. If your loan application is successful, you won’t be able to draw down the funds until we have seen certified copies of your supporting documents, including your passport or driver’s licence, bank statement and any other documents. You don’t have to supply certified documents with your application – you can wait until your application has been approved. However, if you would like to speed up the process, please have these documents certified prior to submitting your application.

You can have your original documents verified by using the Post Office’s Identity Document Certification Service. This service costs approximately £7.15 (please note that this fee is non-refundable no matter what the outcome is on your application). To find out more about this service and to find the nearest branch to you, please click here.
Not through Outset Finance. Start Up Loans has designated Delivery Partners to work with clients coming through the NEA scheme. Only these specific partners are able to check that loans recipients have signed off benefits and only they have permission to work with NEA-referred clients. If you have participated in the NEA scheme (whether or not you have received a loan) and want to apply for a Start Up Loan, you must contact your NEA mentoring organisation who will direct you to the appropriate partner to make a loan application.
You cannot have a New Enterprise Allowance loan, or other Government granted loan, outstanding at the point at which your Start Up Loan is approved. In order to benefit from the Start Up Loans scheme, you would have to repay any other Government loans received in full. However, you can have other personal loans, which are not part of any government scheme. As this is a personal loan each applicant is only allowed to receive ONE loan across the entire Start Up Loans scheme. If you have received a loan with another Delivery Partner you are not eligible to apply for another Start Up Loan.
You can choose your payment options. You will be required to pay back the loan in monthly instalments within five years at a fixed-rate of interest – currently 6% APR.
No – setting up a business account is not necessary, a personal account is fine. However, it is normally recommended that you have a business account once you are trading.
Yes, we will be running a credit check for you after you submit your Start Up Loan application. You will need to sign the Self-Declaration form (available to download from our useful resources page) and submit this with your application in order for us to carry a credit check. If you have existing bad credit, this will not necessarily impact the success of your application provided you can demonstrate that you have a payment plan in place.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Your credit report will include details of all current accounts, credit cards, overdrafts, CCJs (County Court Judgements), IVAs (Individual Voluntary Arrangements), as well as some monthly household and personal bills. Please include all outstanding balances on accounts and regular payments in the Self-Declaration form, no matter whether they are in credit or default. If there are any discrepancies between the information you provide on the Self-Declaration Form and the credit check this will delay your loan application being processed until the discrepancy is resolved in a satisfactory manner.
A Start Up Loan is a personal loan, which you then invest in your business. As with any personal loan, the liability rests with the individual. If you decide to cease trading for any reason, you are still expected to make every effort to repay the loan. As a Start Up Loans delivery partner we are here to support you so that any warning signs are flagged up early. If you are in danger of missing repayments you must tell us as soon as possible so we can discuss the best way forward and ensure we have some ability to support you according to your individual circumstances.
Yes, you will likely lose your job seekers allowance if you receive a Start Up Loan. For more information please visit gov.uk.
Treating customers fairly remains at the heart of the Start Up Loans programme and is central to our way of working at Outset Finance. However, if you feel that we have not provided the service level you expected, there are three ways in which you can make a complaint:

1. Via our online complaint form.
2. By email to complaints@outsetfinance.com
3. By post to: Outset Finance, Unit C, Brookmount Court, Kirkwood Road, Cambridge CB4 2QH

You can find a full copy of our complaints policy here, which outlines the process we follow for responding to all complaints and provides a range of additional information.