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.

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.
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.
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.
No. A grant is a non-repayable fund provided by an individual or an organisation for a particular purpose, whereas a Start Up Loan must be repaid in full over an agreed term of one to five years.
Finance is provided by way of a personal loan that is regulated under the Consumer Credit Act 1974. This means the loan is taken out in your name and not the name of your venture. The loan is repayable on a monthly basis for the duration of the term of the loan. The finance provided to you is not a grant.
We believe that it’s important for business owners to be personally invested in the success of their business, which is why Start Up Loans are structured as personal loans rather than business loans. By making individuals accountable for their loan repayments we seek to empower applicants to make the right decisions for themselves and their business, like how much to borrow and how the money should be used to achieve business goals. To support applicants in making these decisions, we require all individuals to submit a Business Plan, Cash Flow Forecast and Personal Survival Budget as part of their application. These documents serve two purposes. Firstly, they help us better understand an individual’s personal and business needs to determine how we can best support them. Secondly, they help us make a lending decision by allowing us to assess an individual’s ability to repay the loan and the viability of their business plans.
Each individual can borrow between £500 and £25,000 at any one time. Please note if multiple business partners are each applying for a loan for the same business, a maximum of £100,000 may be lent that that business in its lifetime which may impact upon the amount you are personally able to borrow.

Additionally, if you successfully apply for a Start Up Loan then after you have made six full repayments you may be eligible to apply for additional finance for the same business in the form of a Second Loan.
Our average loan size is between £5,000 and £10,000, but of course the final amount ultimately depends on the needs of individual, the type of business model and how you intend to use the money.
We are a government-backed scheme so all interest is reinvested in the scheme, meaning even more individuals and businesses can benefit from this affordable finance and support. At a fixed rate of 6% per annum, the interest is designed to be affordable compared to other mainstream lenders and the flexible loan term of one to five years gives our customers the ability to manage their monthly repayments in a way that makes most sense for them. Check out the Loan Calculator to figure out your potential monthly and total loan repayments.
No, there are no fees involved in either applying for or receiving a Start Up Loan, and no fees for the support we provide during and after the application process. Other than your monthly loan repayments, you will never be asked for any fees or other payments.
A secured loan is one that requires a guarantor or an asset, for example a property (also known as collateral) to secure the loan. In the event that a secured loan cannot be repaid, the company issuing the loan may take possession of the property or call on the guarantor to satisfy the outstanding balance. In contrast, unsecured loans – like Start Up Loans – can be obtained without the use of a guarantor or collateral for the loan. However, please remember you are still contractually obligated to repay your Start Up Loan, no matter what the circumstances. Failure to meet your monthly loan repayments may result in formal action being taken, and will detrimentally affect your credit file, so it’s important to talk to your Finance Partner as soon as possible if you think you may encounter any difficulties. You will find the details of your Finance Partner on your loan agreement once your application has been approved.
Yes, you can choose a loan term between one and five years depending on your affordability and preference. Please note, if you are in the UK on a visa, you will need to repay your loan and all associated interest at least six months prior to your visa expiry date. Regardless of your final agreed loan term, you will be required to make monthly repayments. Use the Loan Calculator to figure out what your potential monthly and total loan repayments would be based on different loan terms.
Start Up Loans are personal loans that are used to start a new business or grow an existing business that has been trading for less than 24 months. Your loan can be spent on a wide range of things related to your business, like equipment and stock, a premises, marketing and promotional expenses to name just a few. It’s important to note however that you must be able to describe your intentions for your loan within your business plan and cash flow forecast and explain how this will help you start and/or grow your business.

There are a few activities that cannot be funded with a Start Up Loan, including debt repayment, training qualification and education programmes or investment opportunities that do not form part of an on-going sustainable business.

Please see our full eligibility criteria for more information on excluded business types and loan uses under the scheme.
Every individual can only apply for a Start Up Loan for one business, so if you own multiple business ventures you will only be able to access finance for one of them. However, if after successfully securing a Start Up Loan you later require additional funding in order to grow and develop that same business, you may be eligible to apply for a Second Loan. You would need to go through a new application process and must have made at least six months of full loan repayments prior to applying. In addition, your total outstanding loan balance cannot exceed £25,000 at any one time. Please visit our page about Second Loans for more information on the full eligibility criteria and how to apply.
Unfortunately we’re unable to give advice on state benefit entitlements. Please talk to your Job Centre Plus for information.
Outset Finance administers the scheme on behalf of the Start Up Loan Company, but does not directly provide loans to applicants. Outset Finance will assess your application and make the decision whether to go forward with the loan, and if your application is successful, your Loan Agreement and loan funds will be provided to you by our Finance Partner, GC Business Finance. They will be your main point of contact for discussing the terms of your loan and any other matters related to your monthly repayments.
Yes, The Start Up Loan Company offer a Sharia compliant finance product, which is independently administered through another Delivery Partner, Financing Sharia Enterprise. Please visit our Sharia compliant finance page for more information: https://www.startuploans.co.uk/sharia-compliant-finance/
Start Up Loans are designed to be used to start a new business or grow an existing business that has been trading for less than 24 months. While we can support most business types, there are a few that we are unable to support. Please visit our eligibility page for a full list of all excluded business types.
Poor credit isn’t necessarily a barrier to getting a Start Up Loan, however we do carry out a full credit check on applicants. The Start Up Loans Company is committed to lending responsibly and has to ensure that applicants will be able to repay the loan.

You cannot receive a Start Up Loan if:

    You are filing for or currently bankrupt or on a Debt Relief Order (DRO) You have an outstanding Individual Voluntary Agreement (IVA) or Trust Deed You are on Debt Management Programs or Debt Arrangement Schemes (DAS)
For more details, please refer to the FAQs related to Credit Checks below.
If you are on a Debt Relief Order (DRO), you are subject to restrictions around setting up and promoting a business and acting as a director. These restrictions may make it difficult for you to launch your business and, therefore, to repay any loans taken out for that business.

The Start Up Loans Company and its Delivery Partners are responsible lenders committed to ensuring that we don’t compound any credit issues that applicants have by increasing their financial indebtedness. We are therefore unable to support individuals until they have been discharged from any outstanding DRO.

For more details, please refer to the FAQs related to Credit Checks below.
Unfortunately we cannot consider your application until you have repaid these debts in full. The Start Up Loans Company is committed to lending responsibly and will not lend where doing so will further indebt the applicant.

For more details, please refer to the FAQs related to Credit Checks below.
The Start Up Loans Company and its Delivery Partners are committed to being responsible lenders and it’s important to us that we don’t compound any existing credit issues that applicants may have by increasing their financial indebtedness.

For more details, please refer to the FAQs related to Credit Checks below.
Being on State benefits does not necessarily exclude you from applying a Start Up Loan but we cannot provide individual guidance on state benefit entitlements. Please talk to your Job Centre Plus for information.
Yes, you are still eligible to apply for a Start Up Loan if you are purchasing an existing business, even if it has been trading for more than two years under different ownership, provided you have personally not owned the business for more than two years. In this instance, you will be required to have sourced a copy of the financial accounts for the business and will need to provide these along with your application. Please note that if the business was previously or is currently operating at a loss, you will be expected to address this issue directly in your business plan.
For the purposes of applying for a Start Up Loan, trading is defined as a business carrying out activities such as buying and selling goods, carrying on a trade or profession, providing services or be generating revenue on a consistent basis. If you don’t meet these criteria, then you are not likely to be classified as trading. Please note, if you have engaged in periods of ad hoc market testing or incurred expenses for non-revenue generating activities, these periods will not be included in your total trading time. Remember, to be eligible for a Start Up Loan, you cannot have been trading for more than 24 months. Please see our eligibility criteria page for more information or contact us if you’re not sure.
It depends on your visa. There are a range of visas that restrict an individual’s ability to work in the UK, whether based on sponsorship, number of hours or the right to be self-employed. The following visa types would exclude you from applying for a Start Up Loan: Tier 1 visa (all categories) Tier 2 visa (all categories) Tier 4 (General) student visa Tier 5 visa (temporary worker) Domestic Workers on a Private Household visa Representative of an Overseas Business visa For the avoidance of doubt, individuals on an Ancestry Visa are eligible under the scheme, as are individuals with a visa with a restriction that states “no recourse to public funds” provided those restrictions do not fall under the above exclusions. If you are unsure whether your visa is eligible under the scheme, please refer to the Government website for more information about your visa type. Please note, if your visa type does fit our eligibility criteria, you will still be required to ensure that the loan term you request in your application will enable you to fully complete your loan repayments at least 12 months prior to the expiry of your visa. For example, if you are on a four year visa, then the maximum loan term we could offer you would be 3 years as you would need to have fully repaid the loan 12 months before your visa expires.
It depends on your visa. If you have a Tier 4 visa, then unfortunately you are not eligible to apply for a Start Up Loan as self-employment is excluded under this visa. Similarly, if you have a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa, you are not eligible for a Start Up Loan as the length of your visa does not fit our minimum loan term criteria.
Yes, subject to three core factors. Your business must be a UK registered company and/or registered in the UK for tax purposes. The operational side of your business must be based in the UK. The majority of revenue generated by your business must also reside in the UK.
No, your business does not need to be registered with Companies House or HMRC in order to apply for a Start Up Loan.
Yes, multiple business partners for the same business can each individually apply for a Start Up Loan. We can lend a maximum of £100,000 to any one business, which means that up to four business partners can borrow a maximum of £25,000 each. Please note that all business partners must apply through the same Delivery Partner.
You can’t add your business partner to your application as all applicants need to individually apply, even if the money is being invested in the same business. This is because Start Up Loans are personal loans for business purposes, and therefore we run a variety of checks related to your individual ability to afford and pay back your loan. However, you can both supply the same business plan and cash flow forecast as part of your applications.
No, because Start Up Loans are personal loans invested in a business and therefore the credit check that we run is based on each individual applicant.
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 (YTKO Group), Mindspace, The Relay Building, 114 Whitechapel High Street, London E1 7PT

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.

A credit check is a review of your past and current financial behaviour that considers any sources of credit recorded against your name (including but not limited to credit cards, utility bills, mobile phone contracts and mortgages). As a responsible lender, The Start Up Loans Company conducts credit checks to avoid increasing financial indebtedness that may overburden an individual borrower.
If you are applying for a Start Up Loan, then as part of the application process, we will conduct a credit check on your behalf, provided you have given your consent in accordance with our Privacy and Data Sharing Policy.

Please note, after a credit check has been conducted, our team is not able to discuss the specific details of your credit report with you. If you have concerns regarding your credit history, you will need to contact a Credit Reference Agency to request a copy of your Credit Report and address any concerns with them directly.

Below is a list of the three main Credit Reference Agencies currently operating in the UK but please note, you may be charged a small fee if you choose to do this. It’s also important to remember that Credit Reference Agencies don’t always hold the same information on file, so you may wish to consult more than one if you have any concerns about the contents of your personal Credit Report.

CallCredit
Phone: 0870 0601414
Visit website

Equifax PLC
Phone: 0870 010 0583
Visit website

Experian
Phone: 0844 4818000
Visit website
Start Up Loans are personal loans so the credit check that we run is a personal credit check.
When a credit check is completed as part of your Start Up Loan application, it leaves a ‘footprint’ on your credit report showing that you applied for finance. This may impact upon your credit score; however an individual’s credit score is made up of many different factors that offer a combined view of your financial behaviours (such as other applications for credit, any credit previously secured and your history of making credit repayments etc.). If your Start Up Loan application is successful then it will appear on your personal Credit Report, along with any re-payments that you make, for at least six years.
Any credit checks conducted as part of your Start Up Loan application are only valid for a three-month period. If your application is still in progress after this point, we will need to conduct a new credit check. In most cases, a credit check will be conducted at an early stage so you can be confident about your eligibility to apply for a Start Up Loan before investing your time in the rest of the application process. This means that you will have up to three months to finalise your business and personal documents, like your Business Plan, Cash Flow Forecast and Personal Survival Budget, which will form the basis of the assessment. For this reason, we encourage you to think carefully about when the most appropriate time to commence your application should be.
A poor credit history will not necessarily prevent you from securing a Start Up Loan; however, it is certainly a factor that will be considered as part of our assessment process. We are committed to responsible lending and, as part of this, review each applicant’s past financial behaviours and current ability to afford the loan.

For this reason, we are unable to lend to individuals with certain credit impairments. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • You are filing for or currently bankrupt or on a Debt Relief Order (DRO)
  • You have an outstanding Individual Voluntary Agreement (IVA) or Trust Deed
  • You are on Debt Management Programs or Debt Arrangement Schemes (DAS)
  • You have an outstanding County Court Judgement (CCJ)
Please note, The Start Up Loans Company assesses every application on its own merits and reserves the right to decline applications for other credit related reasons, particularly in cases where lending is likely to increase financial indebtedness that may overburden an individual.

If any of the above apply to you, or you are concerned about your credit history, you can review your Credit Report by consulting a Credit Reference Agency. Below is a list of the three main Credit Reference Agencies currently operating in the UK but please note, you may be charged a small fee if you choose to do this.

It’s also important to remember that Credit Reference Agencies don’t always hold the same information on file, so you may wish to consult more than one if you have any concerns about the contents of your personal Credit Report.

CallCredit
Phone: 0870 0601414
Visit website

Equifax PLC
Phone: 0870 010 0583
Visit website

Experian
Phone: 0844 4818000
Visit website

You can also contact the Citizens Advice Bureau or the Money Advice Service for free advice on how to improve your credit record.

The majority of the above FAQ’s have been obtained from the official Start Up Loans Website. There are more FAQ’s available, covering other areas of the Start Up Loan Scheme. For more information please visit https://www.startuploans.co.uk/faqs/