A UK Government funded scheme designed to help equip enterprising individuals with the tools needed to make their businesses a success, has been welcomed by the Secretary of State for Wales and Welsh business leaders today (15 October).
The Start Up Loans Company has announced that it will begin the roll out of the highly successful ‘Start Up Loans’ scheme to applicants across Wales.
The company provides crucial support in the form of a repayable loan together with a business mentor for entrepreneurs across the country.
Following the removal of the age cap for loans, as announced by the Prime Minister in June; from today budding entrepreneurs of any age in Wales can now get access to Start Up Loans funding and mentoring.
The government-funded initiative, chaired by James Caan, has so far helped over 8,000 UK businesses get off the ground.
Business Secretary Vince Cable said:
Last year there were a record number of start ups in the UK, supporting our efforts to make this the best place in the world to start and grow a business.
The start up loans scheme continues to thrive, with 8,000 loans worth £45 million already advanced. This welcomed extension to Wales will provide even more opportunities for budding entrepreneurs to gain access to finance and receive professional business mentoring to help them start and run a successful enterprise.
Secretary of State for Wales, Rt. Hon David Jones said:
Unleashing the potential that Welsh entrepreneurs and our small businesses have is critical if we want to see the economy continue on its journey from rescue to recovery.
From Village Bakery in Wrexham (Fast Growth 50 award winner) to Smart Solutions Recruitment in Newport (Fast Growth 50 award winner), small businesses owners across the length and breadth of Wales have been harnessing the drive and ambition needed to expand and to create new jobs. It is clear that there is real scope to be entrepreneurial in Wales - and to succeed.
The roll out of the Start-Up Loan scheme in Wales will provide many more of our budding entrepreneurs with the opportunity to join in this success. I would encourage them to seize the support available to strike out and to turn their ideas into the viable, successful businesses of the future.
In order to make the most of the new opportunity, Start Up Loans will partner with five key delivery partners across Wales who have previous experience in running local enterprise schemes.
Professor Dylan Jones-Evans is the creator of Fast Growth 50 – an award ceremony that honours the fastest growing businesses in Wales. He said:
As part of the Access to Finance Review that I am conducting for the Welsh Government, I recommended that the Start Up Loans scheme should be rolled out in wales. I am pleased that the UK Government and the Welsh Government have agreed that this funding can go forward, in the expectation that more entrepreneurs will be established in the coming years.
Nathan Bowles founded Smart Solutions Recruitment just five years ago, and has grown his business from two members of staff in an office in Pontypool, to a team of 111 full-time employees operating from seven high-street branches in Wales, and a further 26 locations across the UK.
Now headquartered at the Langstone Business Park in Newport, Smart currently turns-over £42m a year and puts more than 4,500 flexible staff to work each week. The company was named the fastest growing company in Wales at the Fast Growth 50 awards in 2010. This was also the year that Nathan accepted the South Wales Chamber of Commerce award for Entrepreneur of the Year. He said:
I’ve been very fortunate over the past few years. There is great advice out there for entrepreneurs but, at the end of the day, finding the right funding to get your idea off the ground is the biggest part of the challenge.
This is just the kind of well-timed government support that entrepreneurs in Wales need, and it is crucial that they receive mentoring to develop a financially sound business plan. This will help to maximise their success, help to grow Wales out of the recession, and build a stronger economy for the future.
In order to make the most of the new opportunity, Start Up Loans will partner with five key delivery partners across Wales who have previous experience in running local enterprise schemes. The company recently celebrated its one-year anniversary and was awarded an extra £34m in funding.
Start Up Loans CEO, Tim Sawyer, said:
I am delighted to announce the partnership with our colleagues in Wales. We are very much looking forward to forming strong relationships with both partners and entrepreneurs alike. And I am equally pleased to see the scheme extend to all ages . Now we are able to help any enterprising individual with a strong business idea, and the determination to see it through.
Notes to editors
For further information, please contact the Wales Office Communications Team on 029 2092 4204 / 020 7270 1362.
For further information on the Start Up loans announcement, please contact the BIS press team on 020 7215 5000.
Start Up Loans is a £151.5m government-funded initiative that provides start-up support in the form of a repayable loan together with a business mentor for entrepreneurs across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Founded by Lord Young, the Prime Minister’s Enterprise Advisor, Start Up Loans was created within the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
£14m of the funding announced by the Prime Minister on 12 September is designed specifically to support new participants in the Department of Work and Pensions’ New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) scheme from 1 October. Those joining the NEA after this date will access Start Up Loans instead of the previously available NEA loans.
As Start Up Loans only commenced making loans 12 months ago, it will take until summer 2014 for the loan portfolio to mature in terms of reaching a stable level of loan defaults. While the current provisioning rate is around 5% of total loan value, the business case assumption for the maximum expected default rate was 40%. Based on our experience to date, we currently believe the expected default rate to stabilise at 30%, which is consistent with community lender default rates on loan portfolios with similar characteristics.
Start Up Loans is one of a range of government-backed schemes totalling £2.9 billion that are being brought together under the Business Bank initiative. A further £1 billion of new capital will be deployed by the Business Bank in partnership with the private sector to further increase the amount of finance available and the choice of finance providers to businesses.
The Prime Minister announced on 5 June that loans will also be available to applicants aged over 30.