Wandsworth lends to over 100

A partnership between Wandsworth Council and the Start Up Loans Company has helped 123 local people set up their own business.

The council and Start Up Loans joined forces a year ago, and since then have approved loans totalling more than £738,000, with an average loan of £6,000 per applicant.

Nearly two thirds of the loans went to 18-30 year olds and half the recipients were women. Wandsworth was the first council to work with the £117m scheme, chaired by James Caan from TV’s Dragons Den.

Start Up Loans provides financial backing and mentoring support to people with a strong business idea. The partnership has beaten its first year target of helping to start 20 new firms, with more than six times more than that now trading.

Start-ups helped include an on-line fashion retailer, a specialist recruitment agency, a photographer and a pet care provider.

Cllr. James Cousins, Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Business Partnerships said: “Wandsworth Council has a long and successful track record of supporting entrepreneurship, and this collaboration with Start Up Loans has helped us continue to ensure our local economy thrives.”

The Start Up Loans Company is a government-funded initiative that provides start-up support in the form of a low-cost repayable personal loan together with a business mentor for entrepreneurs across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and Scotland. Established in September 2012, it is designed to help people over 18 who have a feasible business idea but no access to mainstream finance. A further £160m of funding was announced in December to support 300 viable new businesses a week.

Start-Up Loans is the brainchild of Lord Young of Graffham, Enterprise Advisor to the Prime Minister. The Start-Up Loans Company, an independent company, was created to deliver the programme and is chaired by former-TV Dragon, James Caan.

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