HUNDREDS of aspiring young entrepreneurs in Swindon could soon get their own businesses off the ground after the Government announced a £30m boost to start-up loans.

Prime Minister David Cameron’s announcement this week means the total pot for start-up loans is now more than £110m over the next three years, and will see the age range extended, from 24 to 30, which will enable more people to take advantage of the fund.

New figures have shown that in the first three months of the scheme alone, more than £1.5m worth of loans have been approved, helping nearly 500 new businesses get off the ground.

The south west has received seven per cent of the total loans, or £2.1m, which have been awarded so far.

North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson welcomed the news on behalf of young people in the town.

He said: “This is an issue I have championed, both in Parliament and locally.

“When I visit New College and Swindon College, young people show they have the enthusiasm, energy and drive to be successful young entrepreneurs and this announcement could help more realise their potential. “Young people really are inspired by popular TV programmes such as The Apprentice and Dragons’ Den. “This government is on the side of everyone who wants to work hard and get on and I would encourage any budding entrepreneur in Swindon to apply for a start-up loan to get their business ideas moving.

“This £30m boost will make a huge difference to the hundreds of young people in Swindon who have always aspired to own their own business, helping new companies get started and bringing jobs and growth to our economy.

“We are increasing loans to small companies, investing in innovation and cutting corporation tax to make sure Britain can build the best businesses and compete in the global race. “This is great news for Swindon and I will continue to do all I can to help provide further real-life opportunities for young entrepreneurs in Swindon.”

Dragons’ Den star James Caan, who is the chair of the Start-Up Loans Company, said there has been a major shift in the way business is viewed by the public and entrepreneurs are now seen as ‘creative and exciting role models’.

He said: “I am delighted to see that more and more young people are now looking to set up their own business. It is only with this renewed focus on youth entrepreneurship, that we will create more jobs and wealth and see the economy flourish once again.

“Start-up loans enable young people to harness their skills, and gives each budding entrepreneur not just a low interest loan, but also the help and support from an experienced mentor to guide them to success.”

Graham Taylor, principal and chief executive of New College supported the announcement and says there is a wide variety of support available to young people through the college.

“We run Getting back into work programmes for adult job seekers and a job club to help them search for and prepare for job interviews,” he said.

“Enterprise days for our young learners take a Dragons’ Den format and teams have to pitch their business ideas to real business people who give up their time to mentor the students and judge the propositions.

“So many young people have great business ideas and start up costs can be much lower nowadays with the internet. We try to give them the skills and resilience to give it a go – be your own boss.”