British prime minister David Cameron has given the government's Start-Up Loans scheme a £30 million boost today, which increases the total sum available to new businesses to £110 million over the next three years.
Cameron has also said that due to high demand for the scheme and the challenges faced by those trying to secure loans to start a business, the age limit for the application will be extended from 24 to 30 years old.
Support typically comes in the order of £2,500 with a repayment period of up to five years. The interest rate will be at RPI plus 3 per cent and loads will only be available in England.
Although the loans are open to any new business looking to get help – including creative firms – the government has turned the spotlight on the technology start-up scene in the UK, with specific focus on the Tech City initiative in London's East End.
Ready to launch
Over 3,000 people have applied or registered an interest in a start-up loan and, in the three months that the scheme has been live, over £1.5 million worth of loans have been approved, helping 460 new businesses get off the ground.
The government expects that 100 new businesses a week will reach the approval stage in January, with 'thousands more' to follow in the coming months.
"Start-Up loans are an important part of my mission to back aspiration, and all those young people who want to work hard and get on in life, so this country competes and thrives in the global race," said Cameron.
"They 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."
He added: "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."
Capital mainly for the capital
Number 10 has also provided a regional breakdown of lending across England, as of the middle of December, with London taking the majority at 34 per cent. This is followed by the South East (19 per cent), West Midlands (14 per cent), North West (9 per cent), South West (7 per cent), Yorkshire and Humber (6 per cent), East midlands (5 per cent), and East of England (3 per cent).
The government created a new body, the Start-Up Loans Company, to provide guidance and direction in administering the lending funds, which is chaired by James Caan.
"There has been a major shift in the way business is viewed by the public, and 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," said Caan.
"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.
He added: "Start-Up Loans enable young people to harness their skills, and gives each budding entrepreneur not just a low interest loan, but also the help and support from an experienced mentor to guide them to success. I am proud to chair the Start-Up Loans Company, responsible for delivering this excellent initiative."