We are an equal opportunity organisation, providing personal loans for new business ideas and established businesses needing investment. Eligible candidates may borrow up to £20,000 interest free for 9 years to establish themselves in their chosen career/business. Trustees will consider applications for loans for business purposes of up to £10,000 from applicants who are unable to provide the required number of guarantors. A limited sum has been set aside for these applications and only the best business ideas and plans will be considered for these loans. Please note proposed guarantors can only be confirmed as accepted once an application has been received and considered by the trustees.

We strongly recommend you seek advice from a business adviser and / or accountant when preparing your business plan as this can help increase your chances of securing the loan.  Details of advisers / accountants you can access for free support are available as part of the application pack.

To be eligible for consideration for a personal loan for business purposes you must be:

  • over 18 and under 45 years of age;
  • resident in Leicestershire or Rutland and wanting to start a business or require additional funds for growth / expansion;
  • going to base or are already running the business in Leicestershire or Rutland;
  • have liquid assets of less than £40,000;
  • not have received a loan from the charity before for business purposes, where this has already been repaid in full.  If you are a current business borrower you may however be eligible for a top up to your current loan.  If you would like to explore the possibility of a top up to your current loan, please contact us to discuss before making an application.
  • Current education borrowers may, under certain circumstances, convert their loan and borrow additional funds to enable them to set up or develop a business.  If you think this may apply to yourself, please contact us to discuss to ensure eligibility before making an application.
  • able to personally demonstrate that the business has the potential to succeed;
  • able to demonstrate that you have a real need for the loan and that the project would not proceed without assistance from the charity; meaning that you are able to demonstrate insufficient personal funds or credit status to secure the funds required from elsewhere;
  • where the business is other than a sole trader, control a 50% or greater share of the business for which you are applying for a loan. We are unable to accept applications where the proposed/actual business structure is a CIC limited by guarantee;
  • where the applicant is a non-UK citizen, you must have indefinite leave to remain in the UK or have the relevant permit for the full duration of the nine year loan period.
  • not have any active CCJs at the time of your application.  If you have CCJs which are satisfied then proof of satisfaction / debt cancelled may be required.

Applicants whose plans are based solely on making sales on the internet:

  • must demonstrate not only what their trading website will look like, but how they will drive customers to the site, and have satisfactory arrangements for safely handling personal and financial details of their customers
  • should be able to provide a clear and comprehensive explanation of the level of sales expected over the first year of the plan, and the method(s) employed to achieve increasing sales
  • should note applications with a full year of trading history, which demonstrates the sales growth potential will have a greater chance of receiving a loan offer from the charity.

How it works

    1. You can  telephone 0116 204 6620, or fill out the contact form at the bottom of this page for application details. You will need 2 to 3 guarantors for the loan.
    2. Once completed, return the application pack together with your business plan.
    3. An interview will then be arranged with a small group of Trustees to discuss your business idea. These take place in February, May, August and November. Applications are required prior to interview dates. Please check specific deadline dates on our ‘Key Dates’ page.
    4. If successful, you and your guarantors will sign a joint and several bond. This procedure will require:
      – for loans up to £5,000, 2 guarantors are required each guaranteeing the full amount
      – for loans between £5001 – £10,000, 2 guarantors are required each guaranteeing a maximum of £7,500
      – for loans of £10,001 – £20,000, 3 guarantors are required each guaranteeing a maximum of £7,500 or 2 guarantors each guaranteeing a maximum of £10,000
    5. The loan is interest free for 9 years, but becomes repayable by equal instalments after 3 years.
    6. We regret, that in the event your application for a loan is unsuccessful, we are unable to provide detailed feedback.

Video Tutorials

If you require support with our application form or your business plan, please follow the links below to view our video tutorials:

Application Form Guidance

Business Plan Guidance

Register for an application pack today

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