The Start-Up Loans scheme has been extended with a further £30m cash injection from the Government, and an increase in the age limit for applicants.
The scheme, which was launched last year, provides help and support to would-be entrepreneurs, and loans which are repayable over a five year period, at a competitive rate of interest.
According the Government, over 3,000 people have expressed an interest in taking out a Start-up loan, and £1.5m has been distributed to over 450 new businesses in the three months since the scheme went live. An additional 100 applicants are likely to be accepted into the scheme each week during January.
Due to the success of the initiative, the total lending pot has been increased from £80m to £110m over the next three years, and the upper age limit for would-be entrepreneurs to apply for a loan has been raised to 30 years (from 24).
The Government has announced a number of other finance initiatives since taking office – which have had enjoyed varying degrees of success, including the Enterprise Finance Guarantee (which helps entrepreneurs access traditional bank finance), Enterprise Capital Funds, and the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (to promote investment in small, high-growth start ups).
The Prime Minister said that initiatives of this kind were crucial in helping the economy recover:
“It is by backing our entrepreneurs and championing small business that we can drive forward and grow the economy, and equip this country for the highly competitive era we are in.”
However, as the BBC points out, for the scheme to meet its funding targets, 45,000 entrepreneurs will have to be accepted for loans by April 2015!
You can find out more about the initiative, which is chaired by entrepreneur James Caan, at http://www.startuploans.co.uk.
For general ideas about funding your small business, visit our business finance section.