A YOUNG entrepreneur from Wiltshire seeking to spice up the usual range of ingredients available in the county started his own business with help from a loan programme.

Luke Craven took out a £21,000 loan at the start of the year to launch BiJimini Spices, which uses crickets and insects to make an array of interesting and tasty spices.

The 25-year-old's money came from the British Business Bank's Start Up Loans programme which has delivered a whopping £600 million to start-ups outside of London through 68,559 loans given out since it began in 2012.

New business owners around the south west received 7,487 loans worth more than £66 million altogether, which made up nine per cent of the programme's overall loans.

Luke said: "“The support I received from Start Up Loans was invaluable. I used the loan to cover all my start up costs, including buying ingredients, paying for a graphic designer, a web developer and much, much more.

“I had been made redundant from my role in sales and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to take control and become my own boss.”

Start Up Loans provides mentoring, support and funding to aspiring business owners in every corner of the United Kingdom and its impact has been particularly noticeable among individuals who might find it difficult to secure finance from traditional lenders.

Managing director Richard Bearman said: “Providing £600 million worth of funding to new businesses outside of London is a huge milestone for the government-backed Start Up Loans programme and reflects the broad diversity and ambition of the nation’s small businesses at a grass roots level across the whole country.

“We have always been committed to providing support and funding to smaller businesses that hail from each corner of the country, particularly in areas of deprivation where people may struggle to access funding, and this milestone is tribute to that.

“We are proud that our loans, mentoring and support for aspiring and existing entrepreneurs are helping to support the Build Back Better agenda and we’re delighted to have been able to help Luke make his dream into a reality”.

The north west received the highest number of loans outside of London with a volume of 10,881 (12%) worth over £94 million. The south east received 8,378 loans (10%) worth over £81 million, followed by Yorkshire & The Humber where a total of 7,497 loans (9%) were provided at the value of over £68 million.