By Daniel Hunter
Aspiring entrepreneurs from across Britain will get financial backing from the government under a £69 million package of support that will help create tens of thousands of new businesses, David Cameron announced today (Thursday).
The Prime Minister is determined to help people who want to strike out on their own, helping small businesses to get on, while creating jobs and a boost to the economy.
Over 30,000 new businesses have been created with support from government schemes in the last 2 years alone.
The new funding will build on this momentum and includes:
- business mentoring and funding for people who are unemployed but want to start up a company. The New Enterprise Allowance will be extended for new starters up until the end of 2014, providing an additional 60,000 mentoring places for claimants. The scheme has already helped to create more than 26,000 businesses.
- £34 million for Start-Up Loans that will support around 7,600 businesses. The scheme has already proved incredibly popular with around 35,000 people formally registering an interest in a loan and nearly 8,000 start-ups helped.
The Prime Minister will host a Downing Street reception to celebrate British enterprise today attended by more than 70 new British businesses who have benefited from the New Enterprise Allowance and Start-Up Loan schemes.
"I am determined to do all I can to support the British economy and that includes helping small businesses and budding entrepreneurs to get on," Prime Minister David Cameron said.
"In the last two years we have helped tens of thousands of people to turn their ideas into a viable business, and this additional support will help thousands more.
"My message is simple: if you have drive, determination and are prepared to work hard, we will back you."
The number of people in the UK involved in setting up or running a new business has increased in recent years and the government wants to ensure that continues.
The Start-Up Loan scheme helps people to get their business ideas off the ground with a loan of typically around £4,500 and mentoring support. The new funding will ensure there are more loans for those over 30 and specific support for ex-Service personnel. The scheme will also be rolled out in Scotland and Wales.
The New Enterprise Allowance offers expert business mentoring and financial support to people living on benefits and has been behind a wide range of new ventures since it was introduced in 2011, with the most recent statistics showing around 2,000 new businesses being set up every month. Referrals to the scheme were due to end in September but will now continue for a further 15 months until the end of December 2014.
Dragons’ Den star Levi Roots has teamed up with Jobcentre Plus to encourage jobseekers to consider setting up their own businesses with the help of the New Enterprise Allowance scheme and will attend the Downing Street reception.
The south London entrepreneur behind Reggae Reggae Sauce said: "Before I went to Dragon’s Den, I needed help to get my idea off the ground. That is what these schemes are about. They give you the financial support and the business advice you need to take the next step. Starting your own business can be tough but I’d encourage people to give it a go."
The most recent figures (published August 2013) show that beneficiaries of the New Enterprise Allowance come from all ages, with more than 6,000 businesses started by people aged 50 or over — challenging the idea that entrepreneurial zeal is solely a youthful attribute. Almost 4,500 disabled people were also helped by the scheme to become their own boss.
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