Chancellor George Osborne yesterday announced the creation of a £10m nationwide Youth Enterprise Loan Scheme pilot which will support entrepreneurship among young people.
Mr Osborne said: “Young people get a loan to go to university or college. We now want to help them get a loan to start their own business.”
A spokeswoman from the Treasury told the Yorkshire Post it was “an idea we are exploring” and that it may involve extending the loans offer people get as students of universities or colleges to people starting their own business.
She said it could be a similar type of provision, but added that there were no further details available on the Youth Enterprise Loan Scheme pilot as yet.
Sir Richard Branson, the founder of the Virgin Group, has previously recommended the introduction of loans for start-up businesses on similar terms to student financing.
The Virgin Media Pioneers community wanted to challenge the convention that a young person could easily get a loan to study business, but not on equal terms to start one.
Virgin Media Pioneers is an online community of thousands of young entrepreneurs founded by Virgin Media.
Sir Richard 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.”
He added: “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.”
John Walker, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), who was born in York, said: “The announcement that the Chancellor will look at introducing Enterprise Loans for young people to start their own businesses is very welcome. More than three-quarters of 11-18 year-olds would like to set up their own business so loans to help them do so will be a great help.”
He said that the FSB has long said that Government should prioritise and support enterprise to young people in education so that setting up on their own is an option.
Keighley and Ilkley MP Kris Hopkins also welcomed the news of the creation of the pilot scheme, adding: “This pilot is the result of young entrepreneurs themselves asking not to be forgotten and for help.
“Micro-businesses can be the engine for economic growth and, as they develop so they could create further employment opportunities.”
Mr Hopkins added: “I am delighted to support Virgin Media Pioneers and their efforts which will, I’m sure, make this pilot a success.”