Start-up loans scheme eligibility and investment expanded

The Government will invest an extra £30 million over the next three years in its start-up loans scheme, Prime Minister David Cameron has announced. The scheme has also been extended to those aged 25 to 30. It was previously open to entrepreneurs aged 18 to 24 only.

The scheme provides mentoring and financial support - often in the form of a £2,500 loan repaid over a five-year period - to help entrepreneurs turn a business idea into a viable enterprise. The scheme is administered by the Start-Up Loans Company, which is chaired by former Dragons' Den panellist James Caan.

The Government had already committed to providing £82.5 million worth of funds by 2015 and today announced £10 million more in 2013/14 and an additional £20 million in 2014/15, bringing the final total to £112.5 million.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: "Start-up loans are an important part of my mission to back aspiration, and all those young people who want to work hard and get on in life, so this country competes and thrives in the global race."

"They are a great way to help this next generation of entrepreneurs get the financial help - and the confidence - to turn that spark of an idea into a growing, thriving business."

Start-Up Loans Company chair James Caan said: "It is only with this renewed focus on youth entrepreneurship, that we will create more jobs and wealth and see the economy flourish once again."

"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."