The number of would-be entrepreneurs who have been granted funding via the Start-Up loan scheme has passed the 2,000 mark, with 1,000 businesses receiving assistance over the past month alone.
Initial scheme funds already spoken for
The aim of the Government-backed scheme is to help young people start their own businesses with an initial loan of around £4,500 together with mentoring support. Just under £120m has been set aside to fund the scheme until 2015, and the initial pilot fund of £10m has already been allocated.
Parliament signed off the next chunk of funding, totalling £5.5m, earlier this week, to keep up with demand.
The Prime Minister says that by backing young entrepreneurs, “we will be able to compete and thrive in the global race.”
Who can apply for a loan?
The scheme is open to individuals aged between 18-30, based in England. The Start-Up Loans Company itself is privately owned, and chaired by James Caan, but funded by the Government and other global partners. The proceeds of all loans, once they are repaid, are ploughed back into the scheme.
The scheme operates via 40 ‘delivery partners’, who help to administer loan applications, and designate mentors to prospective business owners.
According to the scheme’s administrators, over 10,000 people have applied for a loan to date, and 2,000 have been accepted so far.
You can find out more about the scheme, and how to apply here.
Scheme just ‘scratching the surface’
Ex-dragon, and chairman of the company who administrates the scheme, James Caan, said he thought the Start-up loans scheme was merely “scratching the surface”, with 40 individuals each day applying for a loan.
Caan is also keenly aware that his company needs to be seen to be acting prudently when dealing with Government funds:
“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. ”
Watch Caan explaining more about the scheme in the video below, together with David Cameron’s thoughts: