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100 New North East businesses thanks to Start-Up Loans


  • 100th loan means new screen printing and graphic design business will open in Newcastle
  • Tyrant Design and Print will open for business in the Ouseburn in November
  • More than £600,000 has been awarded to young entrepreneurs in the region in 2013

Two young entrepreneurs are celebrating today after becoming the 100th new start-up business created in the North East and Cumbria, thanks to funding and support from a local scheme.

Jonas Halsall, 27 and Lee Drew, 29 have borrowed £5,000 from Start-Up Loans North East and Cumbria to launch Tyrant Design and Print on Stepney Road in Newcastle. The business, which is due to open later this month, will offer screen printing and graphic design for a niche market, as the duo are heavily inspired by metal music.

The pair met through mutual friends after Jonas moved to the North East from his native Yorkshire to begin studying 3D modelling and graphic design at Sunderland University. They are currently investing their loan in the specialist kit needed to bring their dream to life.

Jonas, who has been working as a dental technician, said: “This feels like a really big step. We’ve been doing this as a hobby up until now, but we’re really excited to be able to start up professionally and between the two of us, we’ve got a good portfolio on which to build.

“We’re very lucky to be based in the creative Ouseburn area and we already have a number of bands we have worked with before as potential clients.

“Equipment has taken up a large chunk of our loan so far. We’ve invested in a pressure washer, screen printing carousel, a portable UV light and an A3 printer and scanner. Our next priority is a wash-out bay and stocking up on chemicals, inks and plain t-shirts, as well as fully launching our website.”

Lee, a graduate in graphic design from Northumbria University, added: “We’ve been planning this project for a year while working full time in other disciplines, so it will be amazing to open our doors and welcome our first clients.

“To be the region’s 100th new Start-Up Loans business this year is a privilege and was quite a surprise. It’s great that there are so many new businesses in the area getting the vital support they need to start trading.”

The Start-Up Loans scheme in the North East and Cumbria is delivered through a consortium including Virgin Money, Virgin Unite, The Northern Rock Foundation (NRF) and Project North East (PNE) – with PNE being the consortium partner responsible for arranging and making the loans.

The scheme continues to open doors for entrepreneurs aged 18 to 30 who have a great business idea. New ‘Lean Start-Up Loans’ of up to £1,000 are available, aimed at those who would like to carry out market research before launching, or need a bit of a push to begin trading. Larger loans are available for those with greater business needs and successful applicants can benefit from Virgin Money’s mentoring support and Project North East’s many years’ working specifically with young business people.

To find out more about the Start-Up Loans scheme in the North East, as well as the new ‘Lean’ loans and how to apply, young entrepreneurs should visit


Media Contacts:

Virgin Money Press Office
Tel: 0191 279 4676

Notes to Editors

The Start-Up Loans scheme for young entrepreneurs was formally launched at Virgin Money’s Gosforth operational headquarters on Tuesday 20 November 2012.

Virgin Money has partnered with Virgin Unite, The Northern Rock Foundation (NRF) and Project North East (PNE) to form a consortium in the delivery of ‘Start-Up Loans’ – with PNE being the consortium partner responsible for arranging and making the loan.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), through Start-Up Loans, is providing funding to be offered in the form of small business start-up loans in the North East and Cumbria. The initiative is aimed at young entrepreneurs between 18 and 30 years of age. Loan sizes are an average of around £5,000.

The consortium also provides a training, mentoring and engagement programme, to enable unemployed young people and young people from the region’s deprived areas to learn how to run a business and to find out more about the Start-Up Loans programme.

PNE is regulated under the Consumer Credit Act and is responsible for making the loans and administering the full lending process. PNE has nearly thirty years experience of successfully undertaking this type of work in the region, partnering organisations such as the Sainsbury family trusts and Royal Dutch Shell. More information about PNE can be found at and information on start-up loans can be found at