Finance for your Wandsworth start up

Wandsworth Council is fully aware that finance can be a daunting area for any businesses, especially when starting up or attempting to grow. We want to ensure that businesses are kept well-informed about the different sources of funding available and that they understand what funders are looking for as well as how to get their business ‘finance ready’. This is why we’ve partnered with the Start Up Loans Company - to help aspiring entrepreneurs and small businesses based in the borough.

The Start Up Loans Company, part of the British Business Bank, was established in 2012 with the aim of helping aspiring business owners across the UK who might be struggling to access other forms of finance.

Since then, the Start Up Loans scheme has delivered nearly 61,000 loans, providing more than £468 million of funding, helping to back 28 businesses a day and contributing to the creation of more than 60,000 jobs. From education to tech, food and drink to health and fitness, the Start Up Loans scheme helps all kinds of entrepreneurs find the funding they need to get their business going, including Harts Theatre Company, supported by Wandsworth council.

What is a Start Up Loan?

The Start Up Loans scheme, backed by the UK government, provides fixed-income personal loans and mentoring support to individuals looking to start or grow a business. Existing businesses seeking finance must be under 24 months old.

All owners or partners in a business can individually apply for up to £25,000 fixed-interest loan each. If multiple business partners are each applying for a loan for the same business, a maximum of £100,000 may be lent for that business in its lifetime. The loan is unsecured, so there’s no need to put forward any assets or guarantors to support an application.

But a Start Up Loan is more than just finance, with each successful applicant receiving 12 months of free mentoring and exclusive business offers to help them succeed.


Mentors are experienced business professionals who provide one-to-one support to new Start Up Loan recipients.

Whether they’re used for guidance on areas where you’re inexperienced, to offer support when making decisions or providing access to their networks and connections, mentors can provide a useful sounding board for new businesses.

How does the mentoring work?

Successful Start Up Loan recipients are entitled to 15 hours of support over 12 months, which can be scheduled based on what works for you and your mentor.

For further information and to find out if you are eligible for a loan visit Start Up Loans.

Start Up Loans case studies

London Décor Company

Business owner: Jamie Sandling
Location: Wandsworth
Sector: Building

With the help of a £6,500 fixed-interest loan obtained through the Start Up loans, part of the British Business Bank, 33-year-old Wandsworth resident Jamie Sandling was able to start his building and decoration business, London Décor Company.

A family business with a combined experience of over thirty years in the trade, London Décor Company offers services ranging from plastering, flooring, roofing and paintwork (both internal and external), to building maintenance, shop fittings and masonry. They pride themselves on a personal approach, and guarantee their clients satisfaction, both domestic and commercial.

Registering with the Start Up Loans Company in January 2017, Jamie was able to secure funding in March of the same year, and the business has since secured contracts with commercial clients such as the NHS and Santander.

Harts Theatre Company

Business owner: Ann Akinjirin
Location: Wandsworth

Ann Akinjirin started her community interest company, Harts Theatre Company, with the help of a £3,200 Start Up Loan. Harts Theatre Company focus on using performing arts to work with young people with the aim to provide them with a voice to help create social change. Ann Akinjirin is a professional actress, writer, choreographer and director. She attended the Sylvia Young Theatre School and the Brit School, and has since gone on to have a successful acting career in a number of productions on the BBC and ITV.

Harts Theatre Company runs after school drama classes for 4-19-year olds. These classes are designed to develop new performance skills, and consist of games, team building exercises and confidence boosting tasks. The participants then perform in a show at the end of each term.

Harts Theatre Company also offer mental health awareness classes aimed at educating young people aged 11-24 on mental health and the issues that surround it. The mental health awareness classes are based around one of Ann’s own productions. After having to deal with the effects of mental illness in her own family, Ann decided to write a play on the subject. 'Normal?' is a theatre production written by Ann that centres on the theme of mental health told through a sibling relationship. In the mental awareness workshops, Ann shows a clip of her production and the workshop then involves a discussion around the topic. Performance exercises and role-play are used as a way of understanding mental health challenges that may arise in the life of the individual, their families and their community.

As well as offering drama classes, Harts puts on a drama summer camp which currently has 50 children attending it. Ann is also working as part of the NCS challenge, improving social awareness for mental health. Going forward Ann wants to start a young drama school that offers an affordable chance for those from disadvantaged backgrounds to fulfil their dreams (current drama schools charge fees of upwards of £12,000).

Anne has an assistant, a general manager and a book-keeper plus handful dance facilitators, and project-based marketing and press manager.