A JOURNAL-BACKED campaign to provide cash to help young entrepreneurs get their businesses off the ground has so far gifted more than £200,000 to budding Bransons across the region.
Interest in Virgin Money’s start-up loans scheme has been mounting month on month since it was launched in November last year.
To February 11 this year, 31 applicants with loans totaling £202,000 have been approved, while 16 applicants with loans amounting to £151,528 are still being assessed.
Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Money has partnered with Virgin Unite, the Northern Rock Foundation and Project North East in the delivery of start-up loans for aspiring young business people.
The Government, through the department for Business, Innovation and Science, has provided funding of £1m over the next 12 months, to be offered in the form of small business start-up loans in the North East and Cumbria.
The initiative is aimed at young entrepreneurs aged 18-24. The loan size is between £250 and £25,000, with an average of around £5,000.
Project North East (PNE) is regulated under the Consumer Credit Act and is responsible for making the loans and administering the full lending process.
It has nearly 30 years of successfully undertaking this type of work in the region, partnering organisations such as the Sainsbury family charitable trusts and Royal Dutch Shell.
Richard Clark, director of workspace at PNE, said: “Performance progress has been improving month on month with the volume of applications received increasing steadily.
“We’ve so far received 49 applications from young entrepreneurs across the North East and Cumbria with a total loan value of £383,528.
“Since the new year we have seen very strong demand and some really exciting ideas.”