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Preparing for business with ICAEW and X-Forces: Part 4

Preparing for business with ICAEW and X-Forces: Part 4


19 Nov, 2018

Part 4: Start-up finance

By Clive Lewis, ICAEW, in conjunction with X-Forces

‘Will I need finance to set up my business?’ is one of the first questions a start-up business must answer. This might be to fit out a premises, wages to pay staff while they are training, or to buy needed equipment. There are many ways to finance a start-up business, and X-Forces provides access to one of the most popular: a government-backed Start Up Loan. Here’s a quick intro to options open to entrepreneurs …

  • Own savings, or friends and family: business owners or friends and family often inject money into a start-up business either as a loan or by buying a share of the business. To avoid arguments, the key features of the arrangement should be put into a written agreement.
  • Start Up Loans: Start Up Loans is a government-funded scheme providing advice, loans and mentoring to start-up businesses. It offers the opportunity to borrow up to £25,000 at 6% pa (fixed). See
  • Credit Cards: a regular source of finance for start-up businesses, they are often used for items such as travel, stationery and car expenses, and are a good way of smoothing out unexpected bills. But allowing debt to get out of control will damage a business owner’s credit rating.
  • Credit Unions: saving in a CU (usually for a period of at least three months) will allow individuals to access lending facilities. The Association of British Credit Unions (ABCUL) website provides information regarding location of member CUs and their services. Some larger CUs offer current account facilities. See
  • Community Development Finance Institutions (CDFIs, now called Responsible Finance): CDFIs lend money to those unable to get finance from conventional lenders. There are around 60 active CDFIs operating across the UK. See
  • Grants: the government website helps businesses search for grants including help with moving from benefits to work/self-employment. The website has a ‘Business finance and support finder’ at 

Case study: Gecko Sportswear

‘X-Forces gave me a simple and easy process for funding, and great support both during the process and afterwards.’

Jonathan ‘Bob’ Lovell started his bespoke sportswear range, Gecko Sportswear Ltd, after 25 years in the Royal Signals and hasn’t looked back since. His wife, Helen, is still serving and they call Haverfordwest in Wales home. You can hear more of Bob’s story on the X Forces YouTube channel: Also, look out for our feature-length interview with Bob in a future issue!

Ready to go?

Register for X-Forces’ start-up and business planning support today at Help for businesses can be obtained from ICAEW’s Business Advice Service, in the form of a free, straightforward discussion with an ICAEW Chartered Accountant. Find out more at