Gloucestershire business owner overcomes mental health struggles to turn her childhood passion into a career

Hannah Ballinger, a young business owner from Gloucestershire, overcame mental health issues to bring her childhood dream to life, founding her own children's party business with a £5,000 start up loan.

By Jake Chown  |  Published
Hannah Ballinger dresses up as one of seven Disney princesses to bring a touch of magic to children's events across Gloucestershire and Herefordshire.

Hannah Ballinger is making dreams come true through her children's party business which she founded with a start up loan from the UK government.

The British Business Bank, a government-owned development bank which helps small businesses survive and grow, is celebrating a milestone of providing £100 million of funding to young entrepreneurs since its Start Up Loans scheme began in 2012 — including more than £1 million to 143 businesses in Gloucestershire.

One of the scheme's successful recipients is 22-year-old Hannah Ballinger, who runs her own children's party business, Dreams Come True Parties, for which she dresses up as one of seven Disney princesses to bring a touch of magic to events across Gloucestershire and Herefordshire.

Hannah founded the business with a £5,000 Start Up Loan from one of the bank's provider partners, BizBritain. She says that securing the loan gave her the confidence to make the business a success despite struggles with her mental health in recent years.

She said: 'Without the money from the Start Up Loan I wouldn’t be where I am now. To think I’ve started my own business is incredible, really. Over the past few years, I’ve struggled with my mental health and looking back to see how far I’ve come has definitely boosted my confidence.

'I was the most girly girl growing up, so this is just the best job for me. I’ve always been the sort of person who’s had big dreams, which sounds cheesy, but it’s true. It’s like bringing Disneyland to life every time you walk in the room and the kids see me for the first time. It’s amazing.

'I would encourage any young person out there with similar struggles to me to do what makes you happy – don’t let anything hold you back.'

The bank is highlighting Hannah's story in the hope that it will inspire more young people and students to consider entrepreneurship when they leave education. 

The Start Up Loans programme aims to make owning a business a viable career for people who struggle to raise finance, providing affordable loans and mentoring to help them start up and succeed.

Small businesses can borrow up to £25,000 at a fixed interest rate of 6 per cent per annum and repay the loan over one to five years. The programme also provides 12 months of free business mentoring.

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