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Several of the 2015 Startups Awards finalists have received a Start Up Loan - four founders explain how the loan helped them in their start-up journey

Many finalists at the Startups Awards started with the help of a Start Up Loan; three of whom in 2015 competed against one another for the title of Crowdfunded Business of the Year at the next stage of their funding journey.

Let’s take a look at where four of these businesses started and how the government-backed Start Up Loans scheme has helped them.

If you’re inspired by their stories, you can also find out how Start Up Loans can help you to get your business off the ground here.

Pip & Nut

Pippa Murray, founder of Pip & Nut, received a £10,000 Start Up Loan in January 2014 right at the beginning of her start up journey. This money gave Pip & Nut – producers of natural nut butters – a spring board tto trial their products at markets and get them developed to a level where they could then go on to raise further funds to launch the brand properly.

Of Start Up Loans, Murray said: “It was an important part of our start up journey as not only did the cash injection help in unlocking some doors but it also came with a mentor who provided invaluable advice and support over a 12 month period that helped to build my confidence as a business owner.”

Since receiving her Start Up Loan, Murray has gone on to raise £200,000 in further investment, including an oversubscribd crowdfunding campaign!

Grub Club

Olivia Sibony and her business partner, Sid Vijayakumar, are on a mission to revoluntionise the way we dine out by matching talented chefs with underused spaces to create a unique dining experience for Londoners – from a disused underground carriage to the St Pancras Clock Tower.

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Sibony received an £8,000 Start Up Loan in February 2014. She used her loan for marketing and to develop the web technology needed to scale up thhe business.

Sibony said: “Start Up Loans provided us with funding as well as mentoring and support at a pivotal time for our business. They believed in us and gave us the opportunity to grow to the next level.

“Thanks to the loan we received, we were able to build systems for the business which mean we are now in a position to start expanding internationally. This would not have been possible without their support.”


Oliver Bridge is the founder of Cornerstone; they sell everything you need for the perfect shave and it’s available on subscription. Bridge launched his business with the help of a £5,000 Start Up Loan in March 2013. Since then Cornerstone has grown rapidly, they’ve gone on to raise £1m in crowdfunding investment, and, with the funding, has now grown to 15,000 active subscribers.

Bridge commented: “I couldn’t have got Cornerstone off the ground without our Start Up Loan, it gave me the cash and credibility to get key suppliers on board, and helped finance our very first products. From there we haven’t looked back – the business has gone from strength to strength. I’m delighted to say that we recently paid off our Start Up Loan and I hope the funds can be recycled to help another ambitious young business owner get started!”

Smith & Sinclair

Melanie Goldsmith and Emilie Bernard, founders of Smith & Sinclair, are the world’s first cocktail confectioners. The pair have developed a range of alcoholic fruit pastilles.

In October 2014,  Goldsmith received a £25,000 Start Up Loan to help fulfill orders for major high street stores. One year on, Smith & Sinclair has now secured listings in more than 75 retail outlets across the UK, including Harvey Nichols, Whole Foods and The Conran Shop.

Pip & Nut, Grub Club and Cornerstone are all finalists for Crowdfunded Business of the Year at the Startups Awards 2015, whilst Smith & Sinclair are shortlisted for Lean Start Up of the Year. We wish them all the best of luck!

If you’re looking for funding to start or grow your business, find out how Start Up Loans can help here.


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