By Daniel Hunter

The Forum of Private Business has teamed up with the Government for a new project that will offer start-up loans of up to £2,500 to young entrepreneurs to get their business idea in motion.

After meeting with the PM’s enterprise tsar, Lord Young, the small business support organisation has agreed to offer successful applicants to the StartUp Loan scheme free access to its online Credit Control Guide and a telephone consultation with a business adviser, as well as access to a new start up membership, equivalent to a 40% discount on standard Forum membership.

The wider scheme will effectively work by offering a start-up loan to support credible business plans submitted by 18-24 year olds only, with those businesses that go on to thrive paying back at pepper-corn rates. Those that fail will not have to pay anything back.

The scheme is the latest attempt by the Government to encourage more people to start up in business — the sector which it thinks can pull the UK economy out of the doldrums.

“We think this new Government initiative is a fantastic opportunity to get the young Richard Branson’s of the UK to have a go," Phil Orford, the head of the Business Forum, said.

"This is why we are absolutely behind this project and are adding weight to it. “Free access to our Credit Control Guide and discounted membership adds another string to the scheme’s bow, by showing young entrepreneurs how best to manage their new businesses cash flow, as well as offering discounted access to our other services and products that will support them."

Properly managed credit control systems provide reassurance to businesses that they are following the best practice procedures when it comes to managing cash flow and debtors. Having an established framework in place is a recognised way of saving time and, perhaps most important for micro-businesses, money.

He added: “Smart credit control is essential for all businesses, especially first-timers who will find it particularly useful. And, with 1 in 4 businesses declared insolvent due to late payment of invoices, taking control of your debtors — especially in the current climate — is something anybody new to business should be doing.

“Chasing unpaid invoices is a colossal drain on time and morale, but it’s something we know is happening more and more. Our latest research shows more than half of all small businesses feel late payment is now a serious problem.

“Our guide provides step-by-step guidance on your credit control procedures, from invoicing and terms and conditions to managing debt and taking legal action. It comes with 15 free customisable credit control templates, including sample terms and conditions of contract, credit account statement, order confirmation, purchase order, delivery note, invoice, first reminder letter, final demand letter and others, for you to personalise and use with your customers.

“As a member, tools, tips and guidance on managing cash flow and minimising late payment are also available through our dedicated helpline.

“We believe this Government scheme will incentivise many young entrepreneurs with a great business idea to finally pluck up the courage and put their plan in motion. We hope our own input will help them make up their minds.”

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