Small business minister meets Brighton startups

News Posted 23/11/18
Kelly Tolhurst MP visits Start Up Loans recipients to celebrate entrepreneurship.

The minister for small business will visit Brighton to meet local small business owners as part of an annual event to celebrate entrepreneurship and encourage people to ‘shop local’.

Alyssa Williamson, the founder of Peach Blossom, a party decorations shop, will be among the small businesses visited by Kelly Tolhurst MP on the Small Business Saturday Big Blue Bus Tour, part of the official countdown to Small Business Saturday on December 1. The tour will see the bus travel more than 3,000 miles across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, visiting 30 locations over 25 days.

Alyssa, a former events planner, will talk to the Minister about how she set up her business in 2015 after she struggled to find the products she needed for events. She started to create her own designs and that gave her the idea for her own decorations business.

Using a £25,000 low-interest loan from the government-backed Start Up Loans Company – part of the British Business Bank – she moved to new premises in Brighton’s iconic ‘The Lanes’ in 2016 and has never looked back. With sales of over £120,000 in her first year of trading, Alyssa is now selling and shipping her products all over the world.

She has also collaborated successfully with another Brighton-based Start Up Loan recipient, Bird & Blend, a tea company specialising in unusual tea blends.

The Start Up Loans Company has provided a total of 59,021 low-interest loans across the UK since 2012.

Commenting on the event, Alyssa Williamson, the founder of Peach Blossom, said: “It’s always great to see support for small businesses, especially ahead of Christmas – and Small Business Saturday is a big part of that. I’ve loved the experience of starting my own business, and while it’s been difficult at times, I’m delighted to have been able to grow Peach Blossom and hope to continue doing so.

“Although Peach Blossom has been operating since March 2015, we needed access to additional capital to relocate to The Lanes. I knew it was essential for my business to be based here given our customer base, so I approached the Start Up Loans Company to make the transition happen.”

Ms Tolhurst will be accompanied by Patrick Magee, chief commercial officer at the British Business Bank, the UK government-owned economic development bank.

Patrick Magee, chief commercial officer at the British Business Bank, said: “Small Business Saturday is a fantastic celebration of the small businesses across the country who are so vital to the UK’s economic success. It’s a pleasure to welcome the Minister to Brighton as we highlight some of those businesses ahead of the day itself on 1 December.

“We’re delighted to see the positive effects of our efforts to support start-up funding, and Peach Blossom’s success is a testament to Alyssa’s hard work and perseverance. We wish her every success in the future.”

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