Today, the Prime Minister announced additional support for the next generation of entrepreneurs. The Start-up Loans scheme is to receive a £30million boost taking the total pot to over £110million over the next three years.
In addition, the upper age limit for those who can apply for loans has been raised from 24 to 30 years in response to demand from those who had previously just missed out on the scheme.
So far, over 3,000 people have applied or registered interest for a Start-up Loan. These budding entrepreneurs receive support and mentoring to develop their ideas and, when their business plan is robust and has been approved, they gain access to a loan of around £2,500 repayable at a low interest rate over a period of five years.
In the three months the scheme has been live, over £1.5million worth of loans have been approved, benefitting over 460 start-up businesses. Throughout January, around 100 new businesses are expected to reach approval stage each week with many more benefiting in the coming months.
David Cameron said of the scheme, “They are a great way to help this next generation of entrepreneurs get the financial help – and the confidence – to turn that spark of an idea, into a growing, thriving business. It is by backing our entrepreneurs and championing small business that we can drive forward and grow the economy, and equip this country for the highly competitive era we are in.”
James Caan, Chair of the Start-up Loans Company, said “Start-Up Loans enable young people to harness their skills, and gives each budding entrepreneur not just a low interest loan, but also the help and support from an experienced mentor to guide them to success. I am proud to chair the Start-Up Loans Company, responsible for delivering this excellent initiative.”
Start-up Loans are just one of many ways this Government is taking action to ensure SMEs get the finance they need to grow. The Enterprise Finance Guarantee has helped 2,100 small firms to obtain bank finance, the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme encourages investment in small and early-stage companies and, since May 2010, Enterprise Capital Funds have invested more than £90million in over 70 companies.