A loan scheme worth more than £80 million ($127 million) has been launched in the United Kingdom by Prime Minister David Cameron, designed to give young entrepreneurs a much-needed leg-up.
The StartUp Loans scheme is for those aged 18-24, who will receive loans of around £2,500, which must be repaid within five years.
In a bid to boost economic growth, Cameron said he hoped the initiative will lead to 30,000 additional start-ups.
The scheme will be chaired by entrepreneur and Dragons’ Den participant James Caan, and administered by groups that already work with young people.
Cameron told the BBC he wants young people to have the confidence and support to turn “that spark of an idea into the next global brand”.
“I want this to be the year where people can think, ‘Yes, I can do it’ – that we can get as many viable businesses as possible off the ground, that people can have a go and that we see a whole new wave of entrepreneurs who start small but think big.”
Natasha Munasinghe, managing director of The FRANK Team – a learning platform for young entrepreneurs – says Australia is lagging behind places such as the UK when it comes to discussion and policy about start-ups and entrepreneurship.
“Schemes like the UK one are actually a part of a larger conversation happening around entrepreneurship in the UK – and many other countries – and initiatives like Startup Britain and Enterprise UK are doing many things to foster and nurture entrepreneurship with policy and public or government support,” Munasinghe says.
“If there is something that would add value to entrepreneurs in Australia, it would be this: having a macro level conversation – along with policy – that encourages and supports entrepreneurship in Australia. One facet [of that conversation] would be funding.”
Here’s how the StartUp Loans scheme measures up to Australian initiatives:
SA Young Entrepreneur Scheme (SAYES)
SAYES provides a series of workshops over the course of a year for participants to help build their business skills. Each workshop is presented by an expert in their field.
A key component of the program is matching each participant with an experienced business mentor, who provides guidance through their own extensive business and professional expertise.