MORE than £500,000 has been given to young entrepreneurs looking to start up their new businesses.
The loans have been handed out jointly by Portsmouth’s Parity Trust and Fareham’s WSX Enterprise.
They have been issued using the government-backed Start Up Loans scheme, which began with a pilot phase earlier in 2013.
Initially only those aged between 18 and 30 were eligible to apply for the low-cost funding, but the scheme has since been expanded to help anyone with a good idea looking to put it into practice in business.
Together the two companies have provided more than 90 loans to fledgling businesses, adding up to nearly £600,000 in total.
WSX Enterprise provides mentors and support for the entrepreneurs, while Parity Trust is a community finance organisation.
Peter Grant, senior manager at WSX Enterprise, said: ‘Bringing Parity Trust and WSX Enterprise together has given a massive boost to entrepreneurs and new businesses in the south.
‘Not only do we have the financial capacity to support new enterprises, but the systems and business support mechanisms to give companies every chance of surviving and growing.
‘Supporting entrepreneurs is the lifeblood of our local economy and we will continue to help new enterprises with start-up funding loans and business mentoring.’
Simon Frost, CEO of Parity Trust, said he was ‘delighted’ the scheme had been expanded.
He added: ‘We have seen the benefits locally from the scheme, working with our partners WSX Enterprise.
‘We’ve seen applications from people with great ideas for new products and services in retail, leisure, IT and a range of other enterprises, making a real difference to their lives and the economy.’
Loans are offered at a rate of six per cent, with a loan term of up to five years.
The average loan handed out nationally is £5,400, according to the Start-Up Loans Company, and all successful applicants receive business mentor support.