Start Up Loans: Student style loans for 18-24 year olds!

It’s been a minute or two… since I wrote my last a post… Sorrrreeee.

I’m here today to talk about the government launch of Start Up Loans; a new loan initiative for young people aged between 18 – 24 years old, who have a viable business idea and wish to #makeithappen.

Earlier this morning I was happy to be invited to attended a round table discussion at the Central London offices of ex Dragon’s Den and successful entrepreneur James Caan, to talk all things surrounding the new affordable loan scheme which launched in May of this year.

As one of three who were selected to front the initial idea when it was developed by online enterprise community Virgin Media Pioneers, alongside its Daddy Sir Richard Branson and entrepreneurs Zoe Jackson and Abdul Khan; I was really keen to attend and hear the views of organisations who also operate within the enterprise arena, and who have a keen interest to align their organisation with the new initiative.

Attendees included representatives of the following organisations; NACUE, Rockstar Youth, Integrate Consulting, Liquid Network, Foundation East, Oxfordshire County Council, Enternships, Small Business Consultancy, NUS and myself, playing the role as an entrepreneur and Virgin Media Pioneer.  I’m rushing to pick up the little one so didn’t have time to add direct links to the organisations mentioned, however do Google them as some provide services which may be beneficial to your business. When I have a moment I will look at each of them in more depth and write relevant posts.

The aim of discussion was for James Caan and the Start Up Loans team to engage with organisations that are already operating in the youth space, to work together to offer ‘start up’ loans across the country. Rather than ‘re-invent the wheel (I’ve lost count the amount of times I’ve heard this phrase in the last year), the Start Up Loans team wanted to have this time to perform due diligence, prior to the pilot commencing this September.

The hunger in the room from the organisations present; to be part of the process and become a ‘delivery partner’ for the initiative was more than evident.  This was great for me to witness due to my involvement with the initial campaign earlier in the year .

HOW IT WILL WORK.  The initial phase will be a pilot run, offering £10 million towards the scheme to kick start a new wave of young enterprise growth in the UK, which is quite frankly big, big, big! This means over 4,000 young people in the UK will be provided financial support in the form of a small business loan of around £2,500, a mentor and business training to make their dream a reality. It has been confirmed private sector companies and charities such as the WONDERFUL youth organisation the Prince’s Trust (an organisation I’m an ambassador for and a recipient of their business funding), who will administer the loans. This is due to the fact that they already work with young people and have the resource and framework to connect with the target audience – makes sense. Imagine the same type of initiative being available for individuals over the current age group? Well if this pilot scheme is successful, we could possibly see this becoming a reality (this isn’t confirmed AT ALL), but it could indeed happen. Regardless whether it does or not, this initiative is a great start to help reduce youth unemployment and get young people doing something THEY have a passion for. It will lead to a generation of young people who have the ability and are actually allowed to DREAM BIG, whilst raising a confident set of young, enterprising individuals across the UK.

SOUNDS LIKE A PLAN? WHAT TO DO NEXT. If you fall into the criteria of 18 – 24 years of age and you have a viable business idea – register your interest today by visiting the Start Up Loans Facebook page by clicking here. They are currently without a website however I have no doubt it will be live when the application process begins in September.

If you’re over the age requirement, you can still be a ‘Good Samaritan’ and share this post with any young people who you feel would benefit from the initiative.  I’ve uploaded a vlog on it too on You Tube, click here to view… Do leave any comments or questions you have, it would be great to connect.

Let’s hope collectively we can inspire the younger gen’ to do something amazing and to take control of their dreams and make them become a reality. I’m really looking forward to watch the Start Up Loans programme develop and be inspired by a generation of ‘young entrepreneurs’… no disrespect to the oldies who have done their thing and paved the way, we still have love for you! It’s just now time for the younguns’ to shine!