Cameron launches £80m loan scheme

Anyone aged 18-24 with a viable business plan can access the scheme and will receive expert and personal support to help develop their plan. If the applicant has an advanced business plan, they will be able to unlock extra funding in the form of a loan, typically around the value of £2,500, with an 'affordable' repayment period of up to five years. (The loans will be charged at the level of inflation, also known as RPI which is currently 3.5%, plus APR of 3%.)

"I want this to be the year where people can think 'yes, I can do it,' that we can get as many viable businesses as possible off the ground, that people can have a go, and that we see a whole new wave of entrepreneurs who start small but think big," said prime minister, David Cameron.

"StartUp loans are a fantastic opportunity for young people, not only to get the financial support they need, but also to give them the confidence to believe they can do it, that they can turn that spark of an idea into the next global brand," said Cameron."

Lord Young's report on enterprise has also been published today. His report shows that if the UK had the same rates of entrepreneurship as the US then Britain would have 900,000 more businesses. He's hoping the StartUp Loan scheme will push Britain towards that figure.

"Thirty years ago small businesses were in decline, now we have record numbers, with many tens of thousands starting each year, they are the engine room of our economy and critical to future economic growth," said Young.

However, he said more should be done. "We cannot be complacent, now more than ever we have got to get behind our small businesses and encourage even more people to seize the opportunities and support that there is to start up on their own," he says.

Business and enterprise minister, Mark Prisk, insisted the scheme would encourage more young people to start up. "By investing in young people now, we have a great chance of creating the entrepreneurs who can become tomorrow's success stories. It is about creating the whole package for young entrepreneurs, training, mentoring, business planning and help to access finance, he said"

Former Dragons' Den investor, James Caan, has agreed to chair a new body which will oversee the process and ensure the participants gain the maximum benefit from the support and finance on offer.

"The StartUp Loans initiative provides guidance, access to expertise,
and finance," says Caan. "These are the three vital ingredients for starting your own business. Armed with all of these, young people are already on the way to shaping their own future."

From today young people looking for support and finance through the StartUp loans can register at where they will then be directed to a provider once they are on board.

To find out more about the StartUp Loan scheme, click here.

For information on how to write the perfect business plan, click here.

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