This week (18-24 November) marks the Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW). This is the world’s largest celebration promoting entrepreneurial culture amongst young innovators and job creators who launch startups that bring creative ideas to life and contribute to society and the economy. In fact, innovation, human welfare and economic growth are increasingly dependant on leaders with entrepreneurial skills and attitudes.
It is on this premise that the Start Up Loans Company - a UK government funded scheme that provides start up support to aspirant young entrepreneurs - bases its philosophy to further boost entrepreneurial movements in the UK. The scheme financially supports those people who have a passion or a hobby which they can turn into a business or those who identify a gap in the market and think they can fill with an innovation. So far, the programme lent £50 million to 10,000 businesses and is a third of the way in meeting the target of supporting 30,000 new businesses with £151 million by 2015.
What’s more, mentoring is an integral part of the Start Up loan scheme. Entrepreneurs are not only provided with the capital to start a business but they are also assigned a mentor to whom they can refer whenever they seek for advice and guidance throughout their entire entrepreneurial journey.
How the Start Up Loans Scheme Works
To be eligible for a Start Up loan one needs to be over 18 years old, living in England, Wales or Northern Ireland and have a genuine interest in starting a business. The average loan is roughly £4,500 and needs to be repaid within 5 years at a fixed interest rate of 6%.
The steps that need to be taken to apply for a Start Up loan are amazingly easy. First, aspiring entrepreneurs hav
e to fill in an application form and then an appropriate Delivery Partner will work with them to build a solid business plan. Once the business idea is mapped out, it will be considered for funding. When the plan gets the green light, successful entrepreneurs can use the money to put their plan into action. They can take advantage from exclusive offers from specialised Corporate Partners including virtual office service, free accounting software and reduced fees with eBay and PayPal.
Van Tran established Banhimi11, a shop offering fresh Vietnamese food, along with her business partner Anh Vu. Their brand new venture aims to show how Vietnamese food is produced and they have also launched a cook book to teach people the secrets involved in authentic Vietnamese cuisine and inform readers on how this can be adopted by local English ingredients. The two business partners used the loan funds for developing the market kitchen where all of the food is produced. The business’ sales are going terrifically well and it grows stronger especially after the launch of the cook book.
Allen Martin, a Royal Navy veteran received £10,000 from Start Up loans to help his company - Eclipse Property Cornwall - to grow. Allen served in the Royal Navy for 22 years and decided to benefit from the Start Up loan scheme and started working for himself. The strong entrepreneurial motivation is reflected in his words: “To have been given the opportunity to start a new life running my own business is an amazing feeling. This money will prove invaluable with my business during its first year and has enabled me to fulfill my ambitions of being my own boss after leaving the armed forces.”
All in all, Start Up loans is an ideal scheme for British budding entrepreneurs who have passion and commitment to pursuing a creative business plan that will impact on the wider society and the country’s economy. The scheme does not merely provide capital to entrepreneurs but also offfers mentoring and guidance which are especially important to young people who have little entrepreneurial experience.