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    Retail proves most popular as Start Up Loan Scheme hits £100m funding to next generation of SME owners

    Photo: iStock

    15,000 Start Up Loans worth over £100 million have now been issued to young business founders aged 18-24 since 2012, the government has said.

    The Start Up Loan Scheme is government backed finance delivered through British Business Bank, which has delivered over £1 billion in loans to SMEs across the country since the scheme launched in 2012.

    The scheme provides invaluable support to young entrepreneurs who are looking to set up a small business – a group which often struggles to get business finance from other sources – and offers an effective pathway into employment, with almost a third of recipients aged 18-24 leaving unemployment thanks to this scheme.

    Of all the loans distributed to entrepreneurs under 25, 39 peer cent have also gone to female business owners and 24 per cent to business owners from ethnic minority backgrounds. Outside of London, the North West has received the highest volume of loans (1,992), followed by West Midlands (1,591) and the South East (1,291). London has received 3,099 loans in total since 2012.

    Among those to receive one of these loans, the most popular industries to launch a business in include retail (£8.5m), hospitality (£5.8m) and arts and entertainment (£2.5m).

    Access to finance is a key part of the refreshed Help to Grow Campaign, a one-stop shop for SMEs to find the information they need to start, scale up and grow their own business. The new site brings together the support on offer from the government into one place, making it quicker and more convenient to find the resources business leaders and budding entrepreneurs need to succeed.

    The government has also – for the first time ever – created a step-by-step guide on how to set up and grow a business in the UK as part of the Help to Grow website.

    “Every large firm started off as a small business and today’s aspiring young entrepreneurs could be the next success story. I urge them to explore how a Start Up Loan could launch their ambitions today,” small business minister Kevin Hollinrake said.

    “Through the British Business Bank, and the Help to Grow campaign, we’ve backed the next generation of business leaders with over £100 million in government backed finance and we’re not stopping there.”

    Richard Bearman, managing director, small business lending, British Business Bank, added: “It’s amazing to see people in their late teens and early twenties with such ‘can-do’ attitudes and motivation to achieve success in working life.

    “Our £100 million funding milestone is a significant landmark and testament to the hard work of Start Up Loans, ensuring anyone with a good business idea like Cory’s, no matter their age, has the access to the funding needed to bring it to life. The impact of this on communities across the UK has been huge and we’re determined to keep backing aspirational young people with money and mentoring.”

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