Start-Up Loan scheme expanded to support more young entrepreneurs
A scheme which has lent £110,000 in start-up funds to support young South West-based entrepreneurs into business has been extended to help more hopefuls to establish new ventures.
The £110 million Start-Up Loans scheme was launched was launched by the Government and Dragons' Den star and entrepreneur, James Caan last year, to support individuals aged between 18 and 24 years old.
Now, the scheme, which aims to help 30,000 new UK businesses get off the ground, has been extended to help anyone up to the age of 30.
The fund is administered in Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Bristol, Gloucestershire, Dorset and Wiltshire by the South West Investment Group (SWIG).
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Since launching the scheme in the region, SWIG has received over 350 enquiries that have so far resulted in loans approved for 19 entrepreneurs worth £110,000.
Among the successful applicants are the St Austell- based Cornwall Camper Company, pictured, which secured £5,000 to support its launch.
The business hires out restored VW vans for all-inclusive holiday packages offering activities such as surfing, golfing, and horse-riding as well as "camper hampers" filled with goods from across the Duchy.
The business is looking forward to a full season in the summer of 2013 and is already taking bookings as far ahead as 2014.
Director Jessica Ratty said: "The Start-up Loan Scheme is an incredible opportunity which enables small companies, such as us, to get a foothold in an unstable financial climate."
A further 51 regional Start-Up Loan applications totalling £310,000 are currently in development
John Peters from SWIG said: "We've had an incredible amount of interest from budding entrepreneurs since the Start-Up Loan scheme started in November.
"There are some really dynamic young people out there with great ideas that need a helping hand to get things off the ground.
"The fact the Government has extended the age criteria from 24 to 30 will have a huge positive impact as well."
Loan sums are "flexible" with a typical award amounting to around £2,500. SWIG will also put would-be entrepreneurs in touch with local business support advisers, who can help with first steps towards starting out, such as putting together a business plan.
Details on how to apply for finding can be found at: www.southwestinvestmentgroup.co.uk/startuploans