Prime Minister David Cameron last week revealed a boost to the Start-up Loan scheme which aims to give young entrepreneurs and innovators up to £2,500 in funding. The budget had previously been set at £82 million, but will now be increased to in excess of £110 million over a 3 year period. At the same time, Mr Cameron announced that the age limit for application would be raised from 24 to 30.
The Start-up Loans initiative is chaired by James Caan, formally of Dragons’ Den fame who had this to say about the initiative “Start-up Loans enable young people to harness their skills, and gives each budding entrepreneur not just a low interest loan, but also the help and support from an experienced mentor to guide them to success.”
One of the largest problems encountered by entrepreneurs, with a new invention, product or business idea is finding the money to get the project off the ground. In financially austere times, the purse strings of normal lenders are tightened meaning that it has become increasingly difficult for entrepreneurs to kick off their projects with the initial injection of capital just not available. Initiatives such as the Start-up Loans fund free up on average £2,500 paid back at a low interest rate of RPI plus 3 per cent, as well as the opportunity for business mentoring to provide those with a good idea with the foundations if they can prove that their business plan is sufficiently “robust”. The nature of the application process means that only those who can prove that they have taken the steps to genuinely justify what they would do with the money, as well as being able to project future developments will be accepted.
Innovate Product Design have always supported any schemes or initiatives that support entrepreneurs in the UK and the fact that the Start-up Loan scheme has the support of the Prime Minister, as well as the likes of James Caan shows that the government are taking steps to recognise that innovation and entrepreneurship is a serious way to help to boost the economy. Initiatives such as this will assist in stimulating growth, whilst raising the reputation of the UK as one of the leading lights in global innovation.