By Daniel Hunter
The Start-Up Loan scheme has exceeded expectations as 2,000 aspirational young entrepreneurs have now received support to help get their business venture off the ground, in a boost to growth and the UK’s efforts to get ahead in the global race.
The Start-Up Loans Company, which administers the scheme and is chaired by Dragon’s Den entrepreneur James Caan, has helped to start 1,000 new businesses in the last month alone.
The success of the Start-Up Loan scheme, which helps young people get their business ideas off the ground with a loan of typically around £4,500 and mentoring support, demonstrates the strong demand amongst 18-30 year olds for self-employment. The scheme has already reached its £10 million pilot spend following high demand, and an immediate £5.5 million injection of funding was approved yesterday in Parliament to fulfil its pipeline of young businesses until the end of the month. The government has made £117.5 million available to fund the Start-Up Loans scheme up to 2015.
Prime Minister David Cameron said: "Start-Up Loans are now helping thousands of aspiring young entrepreneurs get the finance and support to strike out on their own and launch their own business. The success of this scheme shows that young people have got the ideas, the ambition and sheer commitment to get ahead — and it is by backing them, and backing their aspirations that we will be able to compete and thrive in the global race."
Budding entrepreneur and mother of two, Alissa Koopal, 26 from Liverpool has used her loan to help launch her company, Izzy Melody, which produces innovative, eco-friendly baby products manufactured in the UK.
“After making the difficult decision to take the plunge and make my business concept a reality, my loan application was rejected by the bank so I didn’t think I’d ever be able to establish Izzy Melody.”
Alissa was introduced to the Start-Up Loans scheme by her Delivery Partner, Merseyside Investment Fund. “Within six days of applying for a Start-Up Loan, I was granted the £2,500 I really needed to launch my business and assigned a mentor who has provided me with vital guidance and support”.
Start-Up Loans is not just proving to be popular with budding entrepreneurs. His Royal Highness, the Duke of York, has demonstrated his support for the scheme by hosting an event at Buckingham Palace in February to launch the scheme’s Student Ambassador Programme. Renowned entrepreneur, Elle McPherson has also backed the scheme and described Start-Up Loans as “an inspiring initiative to support up-and-coming businessmen and women” and has encouraged people to embrace their entrepreneurial spirit.
Business Minister Michael Fallon said: “Start-Up Loans are firing up thousands of aspiring young entrepreneurs’ business ideas. This scheme is really motoring and its high demand and popularity shows no sign of abating. This is about encouraging and unlocking the great entrepreneurial spirit we have in the UK."
Chairman of Start-Up Loans James Caan said: “Whilst we are well ahead of our target numbers, I believe that we are only scratching the surface. 2,000 young, ambitious and highly motivated people have taken their future into their own hands. At the moment 40 people a day are choosing to start their own business thanks to Start-Up Loans.
"I am very proud of what we have achieved thus far. We have built a fantastic team that is committed to the success of Start-Up Loans. As an entrepreneur myself who has built businesses, I am very conscious that maintaining our own costs when we are spending money on behalf of the country is absolutely vital in the current economic environment. Using our own entrepreneurial approach, I'm pleased to see that we have come in under budget for expenditure."
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