By Daniel Hunter
Celebrity entrepreneur James Caan has stepped down from his role as chair of the Start-up Loans Company after three years.
Mr Caan, well-known for his role on BBC's Dragon's Den, will be replaced by deputy chair Luke Williams.
Mr Williams had been a non-executive director since Start-up Loans Company was launched and deputy chair since 2013. He said: "It’s a great honour to have the opportunity to be Chairman of this vital and exceptional scheme. James will be a tough act to follow, but I’m relishing the challenge of increasing our loan output in 2015."
The government-backed scheme provides financial support and mentoring to entrepreneurs looking to set up their own business. By the end of March last year, 17,000 additional jobs had been created by the programme, with the median annual turnover of the businesses created standing at just over £23k. The most successful companies created by the scheme are turning over in excess of £1m.
James Caan said: "After stepping down as Chairman of Start -up Loans this week, I wanted to express how much I have thoroughly enjoyed the journey over the past 3 years and how immensely proud I am of what has been achieved to date. To have now started 27,000 new businesses and created 32,000 jobs in the process, we have crystallised the dreams of thousands of entrepreneurs and this has been a dream come true.
"Luke Williams is the perfect successor who will continue to take Start-up Loans from strength to strength. I have no doubt that this scheme will transform the face of entrepreneurship in the UK for years to come; inspiring a new generation of business owners to take the leap and become their own boss."