James Caan-fronted Start-Up Loans scheme nets extra government cash

A £35 million increase to the coalition government’s Start-Up Loans scheme has pushed the amount available to prospective entrepreneurs over the £100 million mark.

Prime minister David Cameron is set to announce that those under 30 will now be able to apply for finance under the Start-Up Loans scheme.

Whereas historically the age range was set at those between 18 and 24, aspiring business builders up to, and including, the age of 30 will now be able to apply.

To date, some 3,000 people have applied or registered an interest in a Start-Up loan. Those which have been successful are then able to access finance in the form of a low interest loan typically worth £2,500 and repayable over five years.

To sit alongside the age increase, the government is also committing an extra £30 million to the initiative, taking the total pot to £110 million.

One such recipient of a government loan is Lisa Brady of Monroes Hair. Brady says, ‘My mentor Steve Staples was a lifesaver. He was very well versed with the industry and was able to guide me through, till the end.

‘Start-Up Loans is the best thing that could have ever happened to me. I would not have been able to build my dream without the financial support and guidance by the Start-Up Loans.’

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The Start-Up Loans scheme was initially launched in May 2012; however, the initiative initially came under criticism from business leaders including WPP’s Martin Sorrell and Luke Johnson of Risk Capital Partners.

Cameron comments, ‘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.’

The Start-Up Loans scheme is chaired by investor, and former Dragons’ Den panellist, James Caan. He adds, ‘It is only with this renewed focus on youth entrepreneurship, that we will create more jobs and wealth and see the economy flourish once again.

‘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.’

George Whitehead, venture partner manager at Octopus Investments, says, ‘Perhaps £2,500 is enough to give young entrepreneurs the confidence to get started or to be a little more ambitious, but for companies with significant growth potential it is unlikely to scratch the surface of their longer term funding needs.

‘The loan is cheap and relatively easy to get, so it is well worth applying for. It could buy important extra time for some companies or allow those without any savings to get started. For the companies that are looking to create something beyond a micro business, however, this loan is just too small to have a significant impact.’

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter was the Editor for GrowthBusiness.co.uk from 2012 to 2014, before moving on to Caspian Media Ltd to be Editor of Real Business.

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