I received £2,000 in the Enterprise Allowance scheme in 1992 and it was crucial to get my business off the ground. I needed a high end computer and fax machine to be able to work as a translator, and I simply couldn't have afforded them without the scheme.
As well as money I received useful training sessions and mentoring. One of the training courses was instrumental, as I was able to network with the owner of a local translation company who needed a Spanish translator. I started out working with them and ended up managing the business before eventually buying it.
It would've been extremely difficult to launch Betterlanguages.com without the money. Not only did I get the financial support I needed for the technology to initially launch the firm, but I was also offered support in areas I was unfamiliar with such as bookkeeping, which gave me confidence and additional skills.
The amount available in the StartUp Loans scheme is similar to what I received, although £2,000 in 1992 was worth more than the £2,500 of the current scheme. Then the country was coming out of recession, I had been unemployed, and I was registered disabled, which made me eligible for the scheme. The current scheme is age limited to 18 - 24 year olds, so this time around I wouldn't have met the selection criteria.
I would advise those who apply to get as much guidance and support as possible. Money alone doesn't make a business successful and the mentoring and advice was more important in my experience. Think of the loan as seed funding and assess how you can get a return on the investment. Spend the money on something core to your business becoming successful - like an impressive website or digital strategy rather than something frivolous. It may be nice to have but probably adds very little value.
For more information on StartUp Loans click here, www.startupbritain.org/loans