Truro-based finance provider, SWIG Finance, has achieved a major milestone, funding over 1,000 start-up enterprises via the Start Up Loans scheme since its launch in 2012.

The Government-backed scheme provides affordable loans and free business support to help young businesses succeed. As the south west’s contracted delivery partner, SWIG Finance has so far invested over £6.75 million into 1,000 start-ups across the region with £1.65 million invested into 222 Cornish enterprises.

One of the latest beneficiaries is Estrella Bikes of Verwood in Dorset.

Launched by childhood friends, highly decorated Paralympic cyclist Darren Kenny OBE and engineer, Rob Ellis, the venture started as a hobby in 2009 when Darren started making one-off bikes, before both partners decided last year that the time was right to combine their individual expertise and expand Estrella Bikes into a business.

Kenny said: “My background is in cycling and Rob is an incredible engineer but neither of us knows much about business. Accessing that support and guidance from SWIG Finance during the application process and the ongoing mentoring support has been beyond valuable.”

SWIG Finance accepts Start Up Loan applications of up to £25k from businesses trading up to two years and works with local business advisers to make sure the support provided to applicants is suitable.

MD, John Peters, said: “We are thrilled to have reached this milestone and to have helped so many start ups access vital finance and support across the region.

“Estrella Bikes is a fantastic example of a business which can get to a certain point independently but really benefits from the scheme’s mentoring programme as well as the investment. We wish Rob and Darren every success with the future of their venture.”