Budget 2012: Pilot for enterprise loans to boost youth entrepreneurship

Branson proposal given tentative seal of approval, subject to trial run

The chancellor today used his Budget speech to confirm the government is “exploring the idea” of offering enterprise loans for young people looking to start a business, on similar terms to student loans.

Osborne said: “Young people get a loan to go to university or college. Now we want to help them get a loan to start their own business.”

The idea is based on a recommendation made by Sir Richard Branson in January this year and trumpeted by the Virgin tycoon again earlier this week. It has since been championed by a number of entrepreneurs and business organisations, including the Institute of Directors, Enternships and NACUE.

The official Budget document said: “Later this year, [the government will] pilot the best way to introduce a programme of enterprise loans to help young people set up and grow their own businesses, building on the support already available including the National Enterprise Allowance.”

Commenting on the news, Sir Richard Branson said: “This has the potential to transform the prospects of thousands of young people. The entrepreneurs of today will be the job creators of tomorrow so I’m delighted that the government has listened to those at the very start of their careers.

“The country is full of gifted and enterprising people so this pilot, which crucially has business mentoring and support at its heart, will help prevent a lost generation of talent.”

Melody Hossaini, star of The Apprentice and founder of InspirEngage International, added: “I am very supportive of the government’s announcement on Enterprise Loans.

“I’ve said in the past that, if young people can borrow to go to university, then they should be able to borrow to start a business. The important thing now will be to design an effective implementation framework, to benefit those who need support, in a sustainable way.”

For a full round-up of this year’s Budget, check out our sister site, Growing Business

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