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Government Announces £30m Boost For Start-Up Loans

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe's Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

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Cameron looks to get the economy back on track with the help of young entrepreneurs

Prime Minister David Cameron has announced a £30 million injection into the government’s Start-Up Loans initiative, designed to give entrepreneurs a helping hand during the teething stages of their business’ life.

The boost will lift the total pot for the loans to over £110 million over the next three years. Applicants can get their hands on a variety of start-up loans, although the government said the typical deal was a low interest loan “typically in the order of £2,500 with a repayment period of up to five years”.

The extra money announced today will be delivered in two chunks – £10 million in the 2013/14 financial year and £20 million in 2014/15.

Start-Up Loans lending a hand

Mentoring and additional support are also on offer. In the three months the Start-Up Loans service has been live, over £1.5 million worth of loans have been approved, with more than 460 businesses benefitting.

Only those aged between 18 and 30 can apply.

“It is by backing our entrepreneurs and championing small business that we can drive forward and grow the economy, and equip this country for the highly competitive era we are in,” Cameron said.

The loans are available to all kinds of start-ups, but the government is keen to get the nation’s tech minds going. It has ploughed money into East London’s tech hub and has been vocal about producing successful IT firms who can compete on the global stage.

Yet the area has yet to produce an outstanding tech firm. One criticism levelled at the government, by Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, is that it is planning to spend more money on the controversial Communications Data Bill, which is proposing to capture all citizens’ comms information, than it is on the Shoreditch hub.

Other private investment could help British start-ups. Silicon Valley Bank launched in London last year, looking to offer loans to wannabe tech giants.

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