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Founders of Glasgow’s Pastéis Lisboa announced as Start Up Loans programme ambassadors

10/10/2022
Sebastian Bacewicz and Emma Airley (founders of Pastéis Lisboa)

GLASGOW-based Pastéis Lisboa, Scotland’s first specialist Pastel de Nata bakery, is among 12 small businesses to be selected as champions of UK start-ups by Start Up Loans, part of the British Business Bank.

The announcement comes as the programme celebrates its 10-year anniversary, having delivered more than 6,300 loans worth more than £55m to new business owners in Scotland since 2012.

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Two such recipients of these loans are Emma Airley and Sebastian Bacewicz, founders of Pastéis Lisboa, who took out his loan of £25,000 each in April 2022 to launch the business.

The couple were inspired by the new-wave of modern pastelarias in Portugal and having fallen in love with the delicacy themselves, the pair sought out the very best Pastel de Nata in Lisbon and persuaded the 5th-generation Portuguese patisserie chef to teach them his secrets and help them train their bakery team. They opened the bakery after perfecting his award-winning recipe.

Emma said: “While Pastel de Nata is a familiar product to many people in the UK, challenging to find one handmade from scratch daily using the highest-quality natural ingredients, to an authentic, traditional recipe.  Glaswegians are known for having a sweet tooth, and they can indulge themselves (almost) guilt-free at Pastéis Lisboa.

“The loans Sebastian and I received were instrumental in getting the business off the ground – after five years of meticulous planning and training, we used the funding to help us secure premises in the prime location we needed to launch from and towards our fit-out and equipment costs.

“Our first months have exceeded all our expectations and forecasts, with people travelling from all over Scotland to visit us and try our pastéis, and we’re excited about the prospect of opening a new location in Edinburgh next year, followed by a roll-out to other cities and a separate production bakery to fulfil our growing events and wholesale orders.”

The annual Start Up Loans Ambassadors programme, now in its seventh year, celebrates exceptional business owners, like Emma and Sebastian, who have followed their ambition of becoming their own boss after receiving support from the government-backed Start Up Loans programme. 

Drawn from each of the UK’s 12 Nations and regions, the 2022 Start Up Loans Ambassadors reflect the broad diversity and ambition of the nation’s smaller business sector at a grass roots level. More details of the businesses selected from Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland and England’s regions can be found further below.

Start Up Loans was established as a £10m pilot scheme by Lord Young in 2012, in the shadow of the 2008 financial crisis. His vision was to enable more young people to achieve their dream of setting up their own business, by offering affordable loans and expert support to those who might otherwise struggle to access funding.

Since then, the programme has delivered more than 97,000 loans to business owners across the UK, amounting to more than £900m of funding, while expanding to support entrepreneurs of all ages. 40% of loan recipients have been women and 21% people from minority ethnic backgrounds. 40% of recipients have been aged 18-30, reflecting the scheme’s continued support for the next generation of UK business owners. 

Susan Nightingale, Devolved Nations Director, UK Network said: “Given the current challenges facing business owners across Scotland, it’s never been more important to celebrate those using creativity, tenacity and grit to make a success of their enterprises. It’s my pleasure to welcome Sebastian and Emma  andcongratulate them on their roles as Ambassadors, and I look forward to working with them over the coming year to inspire others thinking of becoming their own boss.”

Tina McKenzie, Policy and Advocacy Chair at the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “This is great news from the British Business Bank, marking 10 years of improving the small business ‘birth rate’, and at the same time powering the levelling up agenda by supporting small business creation in all the UK nations and regions.  Today’s figures and ambassadors are a real legacy for Lord Young, and we hope that this can be built on and expanded in future.”

Robin Spinks, Head of Inclusive Design, RNIB said: “RNIB wants every blind person to be able to lead the life they want to live. British Business Bank is a government owned business development bank dedicated to making finance markets work better for smaller businesses. Two very different organisations have come together with a shared mission to enable those with sight loss to realise their ambition in starting a successful business.”

Through a network of delivery partner organisations, the Start Up Loans programme provides access to pre-and-post loan support to help applicants to develop a business plan; fixed-interest first and second loans of up to £25,000 to start or grow their business; as well as mentoring support to help loan recipients with everything from cash flow to marketing.

In 2022, the programme was expanded to make first loans available to businesses that have been trading for up to three years, and second loans to businesses up to five years. The programme previously provided finance to start-ups which had been trading for up to two years.

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