Ben Howlett is the National Chairman of Conservative Future.
Today’s announcement that young people will be able to access StartUp loans through Start-Up Britain will not only help a generation of young people who aspire to own and build businesses, it is also fundamental to helping build economic growth.
The Government are creating an £82million loan guarantee scheme through the Startup Loans Company that they believe will help ensure young people aged 18-24 are given rock solid support that they desperately need to start up their own businesses. The first few quarters of a start-up company are the most fragile. Young people find it hard to gain loans from banks when they cannot have a track record of successful repayment from loans. These new loans are going to become available so that young people can get the support they deserve. The Government also believes these loans will, in the words of the Prime Minister. support “that spark of an idea into the next global brand”.
The enterprise review conducted by Lord Young published today said the UK would have 900,000 more businesses if it had the same rate of entrepreneurship as the U.S. The proposals in his report are a great opportunity for young people to take the lead on building economic growth for our generation and future generations to benefit from. These 18–24 year olds will receive expert and personal support to help develop their business plans and gain individual support/training. Where the business plan is approved and is seen to be strong enough to gain support, they will be able to access financial assistance typically in the order of £2,500. This is a great boost to a young person who needs that financial support to get their business going.
Not only are these young entrepreneurs gaining financial support, they are also receiving the dedicated help from mentors that will give them the experience of best practice that is all too often unavailable to new start ups. With highly experienced entrepreneurs such as James Cann, of Dragon’s Den fame, young people can gain a real foot up onto the ladder of entrepreneurial success.
Through the CF Policy Forum, Conservative Future members have been calling upon the Government to create a policy where young people can get that foot onto the business ladder as they can within higher education through the Student Loans Company. Young people and members of Conservative Future who are very keen to gain the backing of the Government for their business plans are now able to gain this foot up. For far too long under Labour, young entrepreneurs who aspired to build a business, to drive economic growth, to employ more young people and to encourage a sense of community responsibility were unable to do so. As yet another scheme where young people are being told by this Government “we will support you” it shows just how important this Government feels young people are the key to getting Britain growing again.
The advantages for the economy are obvious, 30,000 more start up businesses with the backing of Government can only help boost economic growth, reduce youth unemployment and encourage investment into the UK. As Lord Young said earlier today “StartUp Loans will transform the enterprise potential of a new generation, just as the Enterprise Allowance Scheme transformed a generation in the 1980s."
This scheme is an exciting opportunity for young people to be given positive personal business guidance, financial support and an overwhelming Government backing. With this support the Government is creating a framework in which young people can aspire to achieve their own potential and support their communities, unlocking investment and entrepreneurial spirit.