Prime Ministerial approval for Yorkshire Businesswoman, Clementene Coates
Yorkshire businesswoman Clementene Coates was invited to Number 10 Downing Street last Monday to attend a reception celebrating the success of the government’s Startup Loans scheme. Clementene was selected alongside 19 other entrepreneurs, out of the 27,000 already assisted by the scheme, to showcase her furniture business in front of Startup Loans founder, Lord Young, former Dragon, James Caan and the Prime Minister, David Cameron.
The event was held in Downing Street’s famous ‘Terracotta’ drawing room, which for one evening only was turned into a miniature trade fair with business owners setting up stands to present their products to business leaders and government officials including the Prime Minister himself, who spent time with each of the entrepreneurs to find out more about the challenges they face and how the Startup Loans scheme has supported their business.
Clementene said “It was such an honour and a privilege to be invited to 10 Downing Street and meet the Prime Minister, who really took the time to understand what it is that I do. Whilst I only required minimal funding, it was essential to get my business off the ground and the mentoring programme has been invaluable in helping me grow my business.”
Since receiving the funding in July last year via Startup Loans’ regional delivery partner; The Business Enterprise Fund, Clementene has been able to leave behind a career as a Solicitor and start her business restoring and hand painting antique and vintage furniture from her studio in Carlinghow Mills, Batley. Since launching in November she has undertaken a number of commissions to paint standalone pieces and fitted furniture and kitchens in her clients’ homes, as well as selling furniture through her website clementenecoates.co.uk to customers as far afield as Chelsea, London and Irvine, Scotland.
The Startup Loans scheme is designed to help those with a feasible business idea, but no access to finance, get their venture off the ground. The brainchild of Lord Young, who’s belief that entrenching a sense of entrepreneurialism into the British mentality was the solution to job creation; the scheme has now lent over £140 million to over 27,000 new businesses across the country.
“To anyone who is seriously thinking about starting out on their own, my advice is that as long as you have a good idea and a real passion for what you do, you will be capable of making it work” said Clementene. “Nobody has all the skills they need to build a successful business on day one, but schemes such as Startup Loans can provide access to the right people and advice to plug the gaps in your knowledge. Learning how to get off the ground was as much a part of the excitement of owning my own business as anything else”.