The government’s loans scheme to help turn creative ideas into a commercial reality has received a £34million shot in the arm, much to the delight of start-ups and their supporters.
Announcing the injection, David Cameron said the additional funds for the Start-Up Loans Company would add “thousands more” to the 8,000 new firms that have already set up thanks to the scheme.
Since it was launched almost a year ago, the scheme has handed out £40m to would-be business owners in the shape of low-interest loans, typically for £2,500, to people aged between 18 and 30.
But applicants to the scheme, which also provides eligible loan recipients with a business mentor, no longer have to be on the youthful side of 30, as the programme’s age cap was removed in June.The removal of the cap, which means people older than 30 can now secure a loan to start-up, goes some way to explaining the new batch of loan recipients that the scheme’s chairman wants to attract.
James Caan, the ex-Dragons’ Den investor, said: “With the extra funding, I’m keen to see…former armed forces and returning mothers to work… turning their skills and passion into new businesses with the help of Start Up Loans.”
But his steering of the scheme towards so-called ‘mumpreneurs’ also reflects a trend that another start-up supporter and official statistics both suggest to be on the increase.
In fact, women – many of them mothers – account for
up to two thirds of the enterprising types using the services of Start-up Britain, a new-business
support campaign, according to figures obtained by The Sunday Times.
And the latest count by the ONS seems to confirm
the rise of females ‘going it alone’.
According to the Sunday newspaper, the current
dataset shows that the number of self-employed women has increased by 9.6% over
the past two years, compared with growth of just 3.3% for men.