Local radio show steals the mic with 14,000 listeners a day following Start Up Loans investment
Lorna Stewart, known by her stage name DJ Lornnah Stewart, received a £2000 loan in April 2022 from the Start Up Loan Fund managed by Manchester-based social impact lender GC Business Finance. She has since launched a female-led drive-time radio show, Women on the Mic, on AllFM 96.9.
With a long-standing passion for music and inspired by the musical legacy of her late partner, Lorna joined a training scheme through the New Enterprise Allowance programme during lockdown to learn everything from mixing and recording to editing shows.
After facing redundancy, she was introduced to GC Business Finance who helped her to secure a Start Up Loan, which was used to fund the technical equipment needed to kick start her own music career.
The GC Business Finance team have gone above and beyond to make my music ambitions a reality, offering me a great network of support. When they talked me through the ways they could help me access finance, it really was music to my ears!Lorna Stewart, host of Women on the Mic
After reaching 25,000 listeners in total last year, Women on the Mic now brings in more than an impressive 14,000 listeners per day. Lorna and fellow presenters Miss Lux and India play the biggest R&B, Garage and Dancehall hits to the latest from up-and-coming Manchester-based artists. The Levenshulme-based station has even received traction from European listeners.
After securing financial support from GC Business Finance, Lorna is taking the local radio scene by storm. She has since been offered another Friday drive-time show, is planning on branching out into events and festivals and is building relationships with global ticket outlets such as Skiddle.
SUL delivery partner, GC Business Finance, is an alternative finance provider committed to supporting Northwest-based SMEs and those with a passion like Lorna. It is dedicated to providing loans to those who have been unable to do so through mainstream providers.
Lorna Stewart, host of Women on the Mic, said:
"Music has always been so important to me, and I’m so pleased to bring that to life with Women on the Mic. We hosted our launch party at the popular culture venue HOME in Deansgate last month, and it was amazing to see how much the show has grown over the year, with a room full of our biggest supporters and performances from some amazing local talent.
The GC Business Finance team have gone above and beyond to make my music ambitions a reality, offering me a great network of support. When they talked me through the ways they could help me access finance, it really was music to my ears!’’
Glenn Hyde, Senior Loan Manager at GC Business Finance, said:
"Women on the Mic is a prime example of the importance of the work we do, making a real difference to people in the Greater Manchester community and their goals. Our people-first approach means that we are able to work closely with people like Lorna through the process of providing finance and beyond. It is always great to see first-hand the huge impact our Start Up Loans can have on those who may struggle to access finance otherwise and we are delighted to support Lorna as her radio presence continues to grow, in Manchester and beyond.’’
Sue Barnard, Senior Manager UK Network – North-West at British Business Bank, said:
"Lorna’s story is testament to the fundamental support offered by the Start Up Loan scheme. We are delighted to continue providing those with business aspirations the essential funding they need, to foster individual creative growth and a vibrant North-West economy. We are excited to see the impact of the funding and where it will take the radio show in the future.’’