THE Journal is backing a campaign to provide cash to help young entrepreneurs get their businesses off the ground.
Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Money is partnering with Virgin Unite, The Northern Rock Foundation (NRF) and Project North East (PNE) in the delivery of start-up loans for young aspiring business people.
The Government, through the department for Business, Innovation and Science (BIS), is providing funding of £1m, over the next 12 months, to be offered in the form of small business start-up loans in the North East and Cumbria.
The initiative is aimed at young entrepreneurs aged between 18 and 24.
It is expected the loan size will be between £250 and £25,000, with an average of around £5,000, repayable over a term of between 36 and 60 months. The scheme will be formally launched in the region on November 20.
Sir Tom Shebbeare, chairman of Virgin Money Giving and of the consortium, said: “This is a wonderful opportunity for aspiring young entrepreneurs, in the North East and Cumbria, to demonstrate that they have a great business idea and to gain access to a start-up loan that can help turn that great idea into an exciting business of the future.”
PNE is regulated under the consumer credit act and they are responsible for making the loans and administering the full lending process.
PNE have nearly 30 years of successfully undertaking this type of work in the region, partnering organisations such as the Sainsbury family trusts and Royal Dutch Shell.
Richard Clark, director of workspace at PNE, said: “Project North East has a wealth of experience in the field and we’re delighted to be part of this consortium, bringing much-needed funding to those who may find it difficult to access a small business loan elsewhere.
“We will consider all serious applications that demonstrate sound business and financial planning and we will help to take applicants through the process. Those interested can find out more by visiting our website.”
The consortium also intends to deliver a training, mentoring and engagement programme to enable unemployed young people and young people from the region’s deprived areas to learn about how to run a business and to find out more about the start-up loans programme. Penny Wilkinson, chief executive of the NRF, said: “We’re looking forward to working alongside the other members of the consortium to maximise this opportunity.
“The training and engagement programme will also help disadvantaged young people across the North East and Cumbria to develop the skills and confidence they need to turn their good ideas into viable business propositions.”
Andrew Purvis, chief operating officer of Virgin Unite, said: “We believe that young entrepreneurs can help to unlock the current economic difficulties and employment challenges that face us all but particularly the young people in Britain today.
“We are very excited to be involved in the start-up loans programme and hope that with our partners, Virgin Money, Northern Rock Foundation and Project North East, we can make a real difference to young entrepreneurs and the wider community in the North East and Cumbria.”
Anyone wanting more information about the scheme should go to www.pne-enterprise.org