Start-Up Loans Firm Helps First Entrepreneurs
A scheme to help young entrepreneurs start their own businesses has received almost 2,000 loan applications as it begins lending.
The Government-backed Start-Up Loans Company offers people between the ages of 18 and 24 loans of £2,500 to get their businesses off the ground.
The entrepreneurs will also be given mentors, training and support from larger firms as part of the year-long pilot.
The scheme, which was launched in May and aims to create over 30,000 new businesses in the next three years, has £10m available to lend.
If successful, it will be boosted by a further £32.5m in the next financial year, and £40m between 2014 and 2015.
Companies including PayPal, eBay, Regus UK and Metro Bank have offered to help support successful applicants.
James Caan, Dragons' Den panellist and chairman of the company, told Sky News the loans would be "just the beginning of the journey".
"The whole objective of Start-Up Loans is to provide that initial seed capital that gets the business up and running," he said.
"And once the business is up and running then we can help and facilitate them and get the additional capital they'll need."
He encouraged all young people to apply for a loan to "see where their business idea can take them."
The funding is being provided by a network of organisations including The Prince's Trust, Sir Richard Branson's charity Virgin Unite and Business Finance Solutions in the North West.
The loans are charged at 3% above inflation, and are to be paid pack over five years.