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January 04, 2013

Government boosts Start-Up Loans scheme after slow start

The Government is adding an extra £30 million to the total pot for its Start-Up Loans scheme, bringing the total investment to £112 million over the next three years.

The additional funding was unveiled by prime minister David Cameron. He also announced that the scheme would be extended to young people up to the age of 30, up from the previous limit of age 24.

Under the scheme, applicants receive support to develop their ideas, and once a business plan is approved they can access financial support in the form of a low interest loan of about £2,500 with a repayment period of up to five years.

Since its launch in 2012, just £1.5 million worth of loans have been approved to date, helping over 460 new businesses get off the ground. However, if all the funding is to be lent out by 2015, the BBC has calculated that some 45,000 entrepreneurs will have to take out the loans.

The Government says it is expecting about 100 new businesses a week to reach approval stage in January, with thousands more in the months ahead.

David Cameron said: "Start-Up Loans are a great way to help this next generation of entrepreneurs get the financial help – and the confidence – to turn that spark of an idea into a growing, thriving business. 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."

James Caan, chair of the Start-Up Loans Company, said: "Entrepreneurs are now seen as creative and exciting role models; and I am delighted to see that more and more young people are now looking to set up their own business. It is only with this renewed focus on youth entrepreneurship, that we will create more jobs and wealth and see the economy flourish once again."

David Cameron also confirmed that Doug Richard's School for Startups would be one of the key delivery partners in the expanded scheme. School for Startups will introduce Launchers, a new training programme that will provide Start-Up Loans recipients with dedicated training and mentoring in addition to funding.