StartUp Loans: Why Raising the Age Limit is So Desperately Needed
The first small business news story of the day today is that Lord Young, David Cameron’s Enterprise Adviser, wants to raise the age limit on StartUp Loans.
This is a great idea and I’ll explain why…
A good friend of mine from my college days was always a bright and creative guy and he left further education to work in a bronze foundry, working on some stunning pieces of art.
However, due to a serious medical condition he became unable to work and ended up being another one of the country’s long-term unemployed.
We lost contact for almost twenty years but then, one day, a friend request came in on Facebook; it was my old friend from college. We exchanged a few messages and finally arranged to meet up.
Catching up over a cup of tea and a chat, we spoke about employment again; He had always wanted to work but his condition made it incrediby difficult and he was ever rueful about being unable to pursue his career in bronzeworking.
But one thing that did catch my attention on my friend’s Facebook pages were his photographs. He still had an eye for an unusual shot, taking some really well composed and thought out abstract pictures and publishing them through the social photo app, Instagram.
I said that there was definitely “something” there and asked if he had considered making money with his photographic talents?
That sowed a seed. Since our conversation he has continued to take excellent photographs but has also become encouraged to turn his skills into a business.
The last communication we had was within the past week and, after a discussion about access to finance, drafting a business plan, doing a SWOT analysis and pushing his USPs, he said that the next step was a meeting with his bank manager to see if he could secure a loan for his venture.
I was going to suggest that he apply for a StartUp Loan, where he could not only get an unsecured loan for his business but would also gain the added benefit of getting access to a business mentor.
But then I remembered that my friend was now in his forties and the StartUp Loan scheme is only open to 18-30 year olds.
It was a shame that, after all these years of being physically unable to work that my friend had finally found something to be enthused about, a path that he is both passionate about and had the skills for but that he is just a little too long in the tooth for a StartUp Loan – It could be just what he needs to set up and make his new business grow.
So, as Lord Young has proposed, it would be perfect if the age retriction was lifted on StartUp Loans – I know one potential new business that would be more than willing to give it a go and I’m sure there are many more budding entrepreneurs out there on the “wrong side” of 30.
By is4profit editor Paul Mackenzie Ross