Posted on Wednesday 4th May 2022
Sarah Riley in her Perton salon
The owner of a South Staffordshire hair salon in has seen her dreams come true after applying for an interest-free loan to take on her own business.
Sarah Riley, owner of Antidote Hair Ltd in Perton, had worked at the salon for 16 years before taking it over during the pandemic, using a £5,000 loan from the Staffordshire Means Back to Business scheme to get ready to wow customers with new services and products when Covid restrictions were lifted.
A year on, Sarah’s business has hit her first-year target of taking almost quarter of a million pounds.
The interest-free loans are part of a unique partnership between all the district and borough councils in the county and Staffordshire County Council to invest in small businesses to help them set up, survive and thrive during the pandemic.
I’m always looking for the next thing, so when the opportunity came to buy the salon that I’ve worked in most of my life, I jumped at it.
But I wouldn’t have been able to do that, and create a unique salon that was ready and waiting to open with a bang when restrictions lifted, without the loan. It really helped me to move quickly and secure new customers as soon as we could open.
Getting an interest-free loan with flexibility around repayments is such a huge help for a start-up business, and it was incredibly easy to apply for.
A year on from when I opened, I’ve repaid the loan and the business is thriving. I’d recommend the loan to anyone looking to start up. I’m looking forward to what our second year in business will bring.”
Staffordshire County Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for economy and skills Philip White said:
Small businesses are the lifeblood of the Staffordshire economy, which is why we’ve already invested over £3.4m in helping people just like Sarah to realise their dreams and start up, or help struggling businesses survive and to grow during some of the hardest times any of us can remember.
Often that extra money at the outset of a new business can make the difference between being successful or not, and in Sarah’s case, to successfully innovating and launching new services. These loans are one of the reasons that more businesses have set up in the last two years in Staffordshire than ever before, and why they are growing much faster than most other places in the UK.”
Unsecured, interest-free start-up loans of between £3,000 to £5,000 are available from the scheme for brand new businesses or businesses less than two years old. Loans can be used for a variety of uses with very flexible repayment terms.
More information is available at www.staffordshire.gov.uk/StartUpLoans