Start-up loans extended to Northern Ireland

Young entrepreneurs in Northern Ireland are to benefit from an extension to the start-up loans scheme which will roll out across the country this summer, business secretary Vince Cable has announced.

Those aged 18- 30 with good business ideas will have access to the scheme's £117 million worth of loan funding, which is already available in England.

Vince Cable said the extension would help 'many budding entrepreneurs' in Northern Ireland, which has one of the youngest populations in Europe.

The scheme has already lent over £26 million and £4 million in support to 5,000 start-up businesses since its launch in autumn 2012. Almost half of these, according to the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, were previously unemployed.

The Northern Ireland start-up loan scheme will:

  • Provide financial support that can otherwise be difficult to obtain through traditional bank lending 
  • Provide pre-business advice and mentoring 
  • Be made available through partners including The Prince's Trust and the School for Start-ups, with a pending arrangement with Enterprise Northern Ireland and the Ulster Community Investment trust.

Vince Cable said the lack of an established credit history was a barrier for many young people looking to finance a start-up business.

"This welcomed extension will encourage even more young people to be entrepreneurial with access to finance, as well as professional mentors who can offer knowledge and expertise about how to run a successful enterprise," he said.