BUDDING young entrepreneurs are being offered help to start up in business thanks to a new scheme launched in the South West.
Covering Devon, Cornwall, Somerset, Bristol, Gloucestershire, Dorset and Wiltshire, the Start-Up Loans scheme aims to help anyone aged between 18 and 24 years old to "free the business in you".
The £82.5m national scheme 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.
Already in the first month since launch South West Investment Group (SWIG) – the company distributing the funding across the South West – has received 200 inquiries that have resulted in support for eight entrepreneurs, while a further 37 applications are being currently processed.
John Peters, from SWIG, said: "We're really excited about helping young people kick-start their business ideas with this funding. The South West is an area that encourages younger people to start their own businesses."
Amounts are flexible with a typical loan size of £2,500, and anyone who hasn't got a business plan need not be deterred from applying because SWIG will be able to put them in touch with someone in their area who can help with those first steps.
It is hoped young entrepreneurs will find inspiration from the likes of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who was just 19 when he started the social networking site.
Other well-known entrepreneurs who began their business life early include Virgin boss Richard Branson, who started his first business at 16 and launched Virgin Records when he was 20; and South West-based Dragons' Den star Deborah Meaden, who was 19 when she launched her first start-up.
More details of the loans scheme are available from John or Melissa at South West Investment Group on 01872 223883 or at www.southwestinvestmentgroup.co.uk/startuploans