Start-up funding scheme extended

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A scheme to support budding young entrepreneurs in the south west has been extended to help more people get into business.

Jess Ratty and Ben Ford from The Cornwall Camper Company
Jess Ratty and Ben Ford from The Cornwall Camper Company

The Start-Up Loans scheme was originally launched last year to help anyone aged between 18 and 24 years old to ‘free the business’ in themselves, but has now been extended to help anyone up to the age of 30.

The £110 million national programme was launched by the Government and Dragons’ Den star and entrepreneur, James Caan, and aims to help 30,000 new businesses get off the ground.

The fund is being administered in Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Bristol, Gloucestershire, Dorset and Wiltshire by the South West Investment Group (SWIG).

In the two months since launching the scheme in the south west, SWIG has received over 350 enquiries that have so far resulted in loans approved for 19 entrepreneurs worth £110k.

A further 51 applications are currently in development worth £310k.

John Peters from SWIG said: “We’ve had an incredible amount of interest from budding entrepreneurs since the start-up loan scheme started in November.

“There are some really dynamic young people out there with great ideas that need a helping hand to get things off the ground.

“The fact the Government has extended the age criteria from 24 to 30 will have a huge positive impact as well.”

Recently launched Cornwall Camper Company is one company to have benefited from the fund, receiving a start-up loan for £5k.

Director Jess Ratty, Director of The Cornwall Camper Company, said: “It was a tough decision to start a business in the middle of a recession but with Cornish spirit, determination and the support of some incredible people including the South West Investment Group…we are now raring to go.”