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Prime Minister visits UCLan

03 January 2013

Lyndsey Boardman

University welcomes David Cameron as Government announces young entrepreneur start-up loans expansion

The Prime Minister David Cameron has visited the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) to announce a £30 million boost to the Government’s Start-Up Loans scheme.

Mr Cameron visited the University in Preston to meet local young entrepreneurs and take part in a question and answer session with local business people.

The additional money will boost the total pot for Start-Up loans to over £110 million over the next three years, potentially helping to start tens of thousands of new businesses.

The Prime Minister also announced that due to demand from those who had just missed out on the scheme, and the challenges faced to secure loans to start a business, the age limit for application will now be extended from 24 to 30 years old.

"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."

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.

“It is by backing our entrepreneurs and championing small business that we can drive forward and grow the economy, and equip this country for the highly competitive era we are in.”

The Prime Minister was joined at UCLan by entrepreneur and Dragons’ Den star James Caan who is also the Chair of the Start-Up Loans Company.

He said: “There has been a major shift in the way business is viewed by the public, and entrepreneurs are now seen as creative and exciting role models; and I am delighted to see that more and more young people are now looking to set up their own business.

“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.”

Following their meeting with the Prime Minister the young entrepreneurs were invited to bid for a Start-Up loan in a Dragons’ Den styled event hosted by James Caan at the University.

He added: “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. I am proud to chair the Start-Up Loans Company, responsible for delivering this excellent initiative.”

UCLan has a strong focus on entrepreneurship and has established a range of business incubation facilities for its students and graduates. The Futures Centre brings together advice on careers and work placements, employability and enterprise course electives, business start-up and self-employment services.

“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."

The University ranks in the top three nationally for the number of graduate start-ups and is number one nationally for the sustainability of these businesses with around 77 per cent still trading successfully after three years. UCLan’s Media Factory building is home to the Northern Lights business support programme and acts as a hub for new start-up businesses.

UCLan’s Business Incubation Manager Peter Rawling commented: “UCLan is delighted to host this prestigious event and visit from the Prime Minister. The Start-up-loan scheme will be an attractive source of finance to many of the entrepreneurial students and graduates from the University who go on to start successful businesses.”

Over 3000 people have applied or registered an interest in a Start-Up loan; these budding entrepreneurs receive support and mentoring to develop their ideas. When the business plan is robust and approved, they will be able to access financial support in the form of a low interest loan typically in the order of £2,500 with a repayment period of up to five years.

In the three months that the scheme has been live over £1.5 million worth of loans have been approved, helping over 460 new businesses get off the ground. Around 100 new businesses a week are expected to reach approval stage in January, with thousands more in the months ahead.

Read Prime Minister David Cameron’s speech about the expansion of the Start-Up Loans Scheme.