Start up loans to silver entrepreneurs have surged since the pandemic, according to the Government owned British Business Bank. The bank’s start up programme has provided a total of more than  £140m to over-50s since its launch in 2012, at an average of £10,427 per business. Nearly half of that amount (£64m) has been loaned since the first Covid lockdown. Recipients, who also get free mentoring and support, have included 54-year old Eduardo Barreto, founder of Bermondsey based Boy Next Door Productions, whose £10,000 loan helped him develop his theatre business. It is funding and productions including Tennesee Williams Rose Tattoo, scheduled to open in April at London’s Arcola Theatre. Mr Barreto said: “I founded the company four years ago, but it had a slow start due to a health incident. Now that I’m well again, the funding has enabled me to get back to doing what I love most – producing successful shows. It wasn’t only the loan that was important to me, however – Start Up Loans introduced me to Giuseppe, my business mentor and my rock. I wouldn’t have succeeded in my application without him, so I am eternally grateful. To anyone else of a similar age thinking about starting their own business, my advice would be to find something you are passionate about and go for it. Keep your left foot in dream world and your right foot in the real world and you’ll find the balance needed to succeed.”