Start Up Loans programme delivers £10 million boost to entrepreneurs in Edinburgh

03/04/2024
man focusing on camera equipment outside

FILM and photography start-up, OJE Studios, is expanding its headcount and relocating operations to Edinburgh after a funding boost from the British Business Bank’s Start Up Loans scheme.

Founded by 19-year-old Omar Etherington-Brown, the studio offers a range of services including film and music production and photography, with a focus on promoting community engagement and local collaborations.

After securing a loan from the British Business Bank through GC Business Finance, Omar is expanding the team to five employees, including a business and finance manager and a film production crew, as well as moving the current music production studio from Dundee to Edinburgh.

The funding is the second time Omar has received support from the Start Up Loans programme, with an initial £10,000 helping him to set up the studio last year. Omar is the recipient of the ten millionth pound in start-up funding for entrepreneurs in the capital city, with 897 businesses supported since the programme’s inception in 2012.

OJE Studios supports many community projects with videography and photography. These include Spit It Out Festival, which provides workshops, talks and live performances to bring together people from marginalised communities who have experienced discrimination because of mental ill health, and Movement, a new club night to support local up-and-coming talent.

Building on the growth of the studio business, Omar is also launching a sister brand called Krazy Niights to promote small and independent night life events and venues throughout Edinburgh. 

Omar Etherington-Brown, founder of OJE Studios, said: “The business has gone from strength to strength in the last year, and I have now left my full time job as a software engineer to focus on OJE Studios and grow the team. Our new business and finance manager will also support growth and development, focusing on partnerships like the one we have with Movement.

“With a talented crew of photographers, videographer and editors we have the skills to create amazing content that inspires people through promotional photography, short films and music videos. We want to showcase the smaller and lesser-known parts of Edinburgh – from nightlife and restaurants to independent artists and venues.

“The finance from the Start Up Loans programme was pivotal to getting our studio to this stage. When I first started, it was just me and my idea, and it’s been fantastic to see the business come to life with this funding.”

Barry McCulloch, senior manager, UK Network, Scotland, at the British Business Bank, said: “Reaching £10 million of funding to business founders in Edinburgh is a huge achievement for the Start Up Loans programme and demonstrates the entrepreneurial spirit in the city. Creative businesses like OJE Studios are not only important for our cultural identity, but they also create jobs and attract investment into the sector.

“Since the launch of the programme, we have supported smaller businesses across a diverse range of sectors and this milestone highlights the success of the scheme in improving access to finance across all parts of the UK.”

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