Start-Up Loans Scheme Gets £30m Boost
Thousands more young entrepreneurs could get loans to start their own businesses as the Government announces it is boosting its scheme.
Prime Minister David Cameron said funding for the coalition's Start-Up Loans scheme was being boosted by £30m to £110m over three years.
The age limit for applying was also being raised from 24 to 30 in response to what Downing Street aides said was "high demand".
Number 10 insisted the initiative was on target to issue more than 2,500 loans by March - despite criticism that only a small portion of loans had been finalised since the scheme was formally launched last autumn.
Some 3,000 people are said to have registered an interest in the money and mentoring packages, which are only available in England and being delivered through charities such as The Prince's Trust.
Those whose business plans are deemed "robust" typically receive £2,500, which can be repaid over five years at a relatively low interest rate.
"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," Mr Cameron said.
He said the scheme was 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."
James Caan, panellist of the Dragons' Den BBC show and chairman of the company, said: "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".
He added: "I am delighted to see that more and more young people are now looking to set up their own business."