Entrepreneur Nicola Weeks has become the 25,000th borrower to gain finance from the government’s Start Up Loan scheme.
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She helping to finance a new boutique in Bedford with the cash offered to her by the government.
After giving up a career as an actor, Weeks was given an £8,500 loan to finance her wedding business, George James Bridal.
“I found the applying for the loan easy and straightforward,” said Weeks. “The real plus was the brilliant help I received from my mentor.
“I am so pleased to be starting my own boutique and being the 25,000th borrower and the publicity around it has helped me as well.”
So far, the Start Up Loan scheme has lent £130 million to new businesses.
Apart from much-needed cash for start ups, the scheme also offers mentoring for new entrepreneurs to help them succeed in their enterprises.
Start ups funded by the scheme have created 32,000 jobs since 2012.
Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Small businesses are really important to the economy. We see supporting them as a priority as they create jobs and grow the economy.
“That’s why we offer these start up loans because we recognise setting up a new business is risky and the banks are reluctant to offer the support.
“The scale of the scheme is great news and we hope that many thousands of entrepreneurs are receiving the finance and specialist support they need to turn their business ideas into reality.”
Start up loans are one of the services offered to entrepreneurs by the government-backed British Business Bank.
Former BBC TV Dragons Den celebrity and millionaire entrepreneur James Caan chairs the Start Up Loans Company praised the government initiative.
“Creating the right environment to encourage entrepreneurs to start 25,000 new businesses is a significant achievement and required some vision and planning,” he said.
“The people with the ideas who are running these businesses and giving jobs to other people should also be proud.”
The Start Up Loans scheme was set up as a funding alternative to banks pulling back from offering financial support to new businesses.
Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “Schemes like this are vital to Britain’s economic recovery and financial support from the government has led to small businesses having an alternative serious lender to the high street banks.”
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