Our website now features the stories of more than 50 Mums who have started their own business so I decided to take a close look at the answers to the question “How did you fund your start up” and share the results An overwhelming majority funded their business using their own money in some way to start the business but 10 different sources were identified by the Mums who shared their stories. They break down in to three broad categories, using their own money, using grants or subsidised loans and other kinds of borrowing.
While most of the women who have shared their story have used their own money, where that money has come from varies. For 37.5% personal savings funded their business start up but money also came from saving up specifically to start the business, working part time to find the business and redundancy pay, which is how I funded my business. I’d often read about people being made redundant and then starting their own businesses and found the idea appealing, the idea of taking that negative and turning it in to something amazing really appealed to me so when I was offered voluntary redundancy while on maternity leave with my second child I was over the moon, particularly as I had been planning to leave anyway.
There is also another group who spent little or nothing on their start up, either by using what they already had “I used the power that is Facebook and existing materials, like paper and pens I already had” (Jackie Osborne from Bespoke Chic) or using a small amount of money upfront to buy in to a network marketing organisation, “To start my business it cost just £199 which is just amazing as many start ups can cost thousands.” (Kayleigh Stewart Business Coach).
Funded with Grants and Subsidised loans
While grant funding is difficult to achieve a handful of our Mums did manage to find something “I had assistance from New Enterprise who put me in touch with a business manager who helped me with my business plan and costings and we had fortnightly mentoring sessions. I also got a small allowance for the first 6 months which helped” (Frances Lilly from Lillylocket Fingerprint Jewellery). Caroline Wylie from Virtually Sorted had both a small grant and a loan. “Being under 30 I got a grant from Business Gateway of £1,000 and a soft loan from what is now The Princes Trust of £5,000.” The government’s Start Up loans initiative has also been of use for some Mums “I used some savings together with a government start up loan.” (Tracy from The Woodlands Nursery).
You can find out more about the governments start up loans and The Princes Trust by visiting their websites. If you are claiming unemployment benefits you may be able to get support from the New enterprise allowance
Funded wth Other borrowing
Just five of the a mums who shared their stories used other forms of borrowing with two being commercial borrowing and three borrowing from family members. Lucy Snell went down the commercial loan route to launch her first business “Cherry” by taking a “£20k personal loan from the bank, split between myself and my business partner”. Carly from Little Scrummers Rugby took a risk by putting £1500 on a credit card.
For some women family was able to help them out “My husband funded the my start up equipment. A massage couch, towels, oils couch roll, uniform tops and business cards. This costs around £300. He was then happy to find my further qualifications which cost around a further £300.” (BIA Sports therapy) “Thankfully I have the support of my family and they have lent me the money to move forward”. If you’re interested in commercial borrowing it’s often best to start with your own bank (assuming you’ve been a good customer) before moving on to try the others.
While there were lots of different types of finding mentioned, none of the Mums who’ve shared their stories with us have used investors to fund their business or tried crowd funding, we’d love to hear from you if you have!
Want to find a business you can start that will work with whatever funds you have? Check out “Mums in Business: Finding the right idea for you”