Thousands of entrepreneurs from ethnic minority backgrounds who received money from the government’s Start Up Loan scheme have helped create 32,000 new jobs.
The initiative, launched in 2012, provides financial support and mentoring to entrepreneurs looking to set up their own business.
According to the Start up Loans company, over 6,300 of the loans were given to people from black, Asian and ethnic minority communities. The value of their businesses is worth over £34.8 million.
Over 300 entrepreneurs from a Pakistani background took out a loan, while those from an Indian background took out 271 loans. Those from Bangladeshi backgrounds took out 141. Last week, the start-up loans company provided its 25,000th loan, making the total amount of money lent to new firms nearly £130m.
Prime minister David Cameron said: “Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy and supporting them to get off the ground and create jobs and opportunities for hardworking people is a key part of our long-term economic plan.
“That’s what our Start Up Loans are all about – it’s great news that 25,000 loans have now been issued, giving people who want to work hard turn their entrepreneurial vision into a reality.”
Business secretary Vince Cable said the loan scheme is enabling entrepreneurs across the country to realise their ambition and set up their own business. “Helping businesses to access the funds they need to grow is key to our recovery, and through schemes like Start Up Loans, the government is supporting serious volumes of lending to small and medium sized businesses.”
The scheme, which provides start-up support in the form of a repayable loan, also provides a business mentor for entrepreneurs.
Keshav Bhatt, 25, from West Bromwich, borrowed £2,500 for his business, Revolution Hive, which he established in 2012.
Bhatt, who describes his company as a “youth led social enterprise”, provides bespoke one-to-one coaching for young people to help them become “social reformers” and “make a difference in the world”.
He currently has nine volunteers supporting him and hopes to grow the venture further, hopefully getting the educational courses Revolution Hive runs accredited.
Bhatt said: “The mentoring I have received has been priceless. I was more interested in receiving a mentor than the loan itself. The support and networking opportunities I have received have been more valuable than the financial backing.”
Former Dragons’ Den star James Caan, the chairman of the Start Up Loans Company, said: “The creation of 25,000 new businesses is a significant achievement and everyone involved should be immensely proud.”
For more information about the scheme, go to www.startuploans.co.uk