By Daniel Hunter

A start-up scheme that will help launch up to 30,000 new companies has begun providing business support and loans to young people. The first wave of cash from the £82.5 million Start-Up Loans scheme is now being distributed, helping to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Start-Up Loans will provide budding entrepreneurs between the ages of 18-24 with a range of support, including access to a business mentor and capital, in the region of £2,500, to help get their business idea moving.

The announcement was made by Business Secretary Vince Cable as he spoke of the Government’s support for Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) at the MADE entrepreneurial festival in Sheffield. He met some of the young people who have received a Start-Up Loan and are taking their first steps in business.

"With more young people than ever before looking to start their own business, Start-Up loans will provide the support they need to help get their business ideas off the ground," Vince Cable said.

"The scheme is not just about money. They will also get access to professional mentors who will pass on their knowledge and expertise about running successful enterprises. Money is going out of the door now, so those who want to take advantage should apply today."

The scheme is being led by the newly formed Start-Up Loans Company, led by entrepreneur James Caan. So far 1,200 people have registered an interest in applying for a loan.

“Start-Up Loans are exactly what young people need to get them on their way to launching their own businesses," James Caan said.

"Through the Start-Up Loans Company, we are encouraging young people to be more entrepreneurial by taking their future into their own hands and creating their own opportunities.”

The latest list of service providers that will work alongside Start-Up Loans Company have also been announced today. They include:

- The Prince’s Trust
- Finance Solutions, Manchester
- South West Investment Group (SWIG)
- Young Britain
- Let’s Do Business
- North London Community Finance (NLCF)
- PNE/Virgin

The Business Secretary was in Yorkshire to celebrate the positive impact that entrepreneurs and SMEs have on the economy. Following the MADE festival he visited Gripple, a growing business in Sheffield that produces wire joining and tensioning devices used in the agriculture and construction sectors. He also met young entrepreneurs from Gripple’s ‘Incub’ project, an ideas incubator aimed at helping budding entrepreneurs fast-track their concepts to market.

Since the launch of the original product in 1988 more than 300 million devices have been sold across 75 countries. The company has also been growing by 15 per cent each year.

"Businesses like Gripple are exactly the kind of enterprises that will help boost our economy - hi-tech, highly skilled with an impressive export record," Vince Cable said.

"Sheffield is a hotbed for these kinds of success stories. The Yorkshire region has a wide range of growing businesses, particularly in the manufacturing sector, and we want to see more.”

This year the Government is running the Business in You campaign to inspire more people to start or grow their business backed by a range of existing business support services provided by the public and private sectors. More information is available at www.businessinyou.bis.gov.uk.

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