Cowbridge-based Lunia 3D, which went from a garden shed hobby to a large-scale 3D printing firm, is among 12 businesses announced today as Ambassadors of the Start Up Loans programme, which is part of the British Business Bank.
Over the years since starting in the garden shed, Lunia 3D has attracted a range of commissions; from lifesaving military equipment for the Ministry of Defence; to a full-scale car prototype for self-driving testing, and a large bespoke shopfront display for a high-end jeweller in Mayfair, London.
According to research this year from Precedence Research, the global 3D printing market size is projected to hit around $98.31bn by 2032 from $17.38bn in 2022 and poised to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.92% during the forecast period 2023 to 2032.
The annual Start Up Loans Ambassadors programme, now in its eighth year, celebrates exceptional business owners who have launched an enterprise using funding from the government-backed scheme. Lunia 3D has been selected as the founders embody the can-do mindset it takes to ensure that a start-up is successful.
Former secondary school friends Ken Pearce and Yousef Ahmed, both 26 and from Newport, reunited after a decade to combine their skills and launch the business in 2020. The pair were helped initially by a £2,000 Start Up Loan to invest in their first commercial 3D printer. Three years on, with 40 more printers and a further £12,000 recently received from the British Business Bank, Lunia 3D has cemented itself as a key player on the flourishing 3D printing stage.
Now, Ken and Yousef’s focus is on expanding into educational workshops. They’re set to start providing tailored courses on 3D printing.
Ken Pearce, Founder, Lunia 3D said: “We’re really excited for what the next stage in our business will bring. As well as continuing with commissions and production, we’re really enjoying being able to teach others the skills that we’ve developed. At this stage of our business, we’re also really happy to be involved in the Ambassador programme as we know first-hand what a Start Up Loan can do to help get a business off the ground. We just hope our story can inspire others to consider pursuing their own business idea.”
Selected from each of the UK’s 12 Nations and Regions, the 2023 Start Up Loans Ambassadors reflect the broad diversity of sectors and business owners supported via the programme. More details of the businesses selected from each of England’s nine regions and three Devolved Nations can be found below.
Lunia 3D and the other 2023 Ambassadors will be introduced at a launch event in central London that kick-starts a year-long programme which will see the new Ambassadors take part in a series of local and national activities, helping inspire and encourage aspiring start-up founders to take the leap into business ownership.
Welsh Secretary David TC Davies said: “It’s brilliant to hear about fantastic entrepreneurial businesses in Wales, such as Lunia 3D, that have been supported by Start Up Loans from the British Business Bank. Lunia 3D is just one of over 4,600 businesses that have been helped with more than £46.5m of funding since 2012.
“The UK government wants to support entrepreneurs and start up businesses and help them grow, which feeds into our ambition to grow the economy, create jobs and spread prosperity in Wales.”
Susan Nightingale UK Network Director for the Devolved Nations, British Business Bank, said:“Companies like Lunia 3D are the reason why the Start Up Loans programme exists – to support those entrepreneurs with big ambitions and smart ideas, but who may lack the initial financial capital or confidence to get things moving. It’s my pleasure to welcome Ken and Yousef and to congratulate them on their roles as Ambassadors. I look forward to working with them over the coming year to inspire others thinking of becoming their own boss.”
Since its inception in 2012, the Start Up Loan programme has delivered more than 105,000 loans to business owners across the UK, amounting to more than £1bn of funding. Of those loans, 40% of loan recipients have been women and 20% have been from Black, Asian, and Other Minority Ethnic backgrounds (not including White Minorities).Through a network of business support partner organisations, the Start Up Loans programme provides access to pre-and-post loan support to help applicants 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.