Government loans hand out thousands to get firms going

Gary Smith from Fareham who has created a special app for people with dyslexia. 'Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (14712-2)
Gary Smith from Fareham who has created a special app for people with dyslexia. 'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (14712-2)

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THE government has handed out 20,000 start-up business loans across the country, including 68 in Portsmouth.

Loans worth £364,746 have been given to new firms in the city, along with 10 in Gosport, worth £42,975, 17 in Fareham amounting to £84,550, and 20 in Havant, totalling £114,800.

Gary Smith, 23, who lives in Portsmouth, was one of those to receive a start-up loan from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

He received £3,500 to get going and a secondary £6,000 loan a few months later.

As reported, earlier this year, Gary launched his Dyslexia Toolbox app, designed to help people with day-to-day tasks and tackle stigma behind dyslexia.

He said: ‘The process was very easy. It fast-tracks you into getting your business up and running. I was at first quite fearful about the word “loan” as I have always been self-sufficient. I have never taken out a loan before but you can pay back as much as you want each month. It is the government’s way of helping and it does not matter what your background is.’

Gary’s app is now getting 50 to 100 downloads a day, with 7,000 people using it across the world.

The app has been particularly successful so far in the USA and in Canada, being promoted through social media.

Asked what he would have done if the loan had not been there to support him, he said: ‘I would not be here talking about the success of my app.’

Minister for Portsmouth Matthew Hancock said: ‘This government is determined to make Britain the best place in the world to start and grow a business. We’re backing aspiration like no government before and our start-up loans help Britain’s budding entrepreneurs unleash their potential.

‘Today’s start-ups are tomorrow’s global leaders and that’s why it is so important that the Start Up Loans Company provides not only the funding, but also mentoring to help starts ups thrive.

‘Start ups are a key part of our long term economic plan to build a brighter and better Britain.’