YOUNG people across Kirklees with bright business ideas have been urged to apply for five-figure loans.
The Start Up Loans scheme provides loans of up to £10,000 and business mentoring to help young people set up in business.
The scheme is being delivered by a number of companies, including Printing.com, which has operations at Mirfield Printing Ltd, as well as The Prince’s Trust charity.
Applicants must be aged under 30 and apply through one of the delivery partners, who will interview and mentor hopefuls, as well as approve loans.
The programme is backed by entrepreneur and former Dragons’ Den panellist James Caan, and is designed to help young people start their own businesses.
The Government has backed it to the tune of £112m.
Would-be tycoons in Kirklees have been urged to follow in the footsteps of successful applicants such as Paddock woman Maysoon Shafiq, who was awarded a £3,000 loan under the Start Up Loan scheme to support her business, Legal Platform.
The business now has offices at St George’ Square, Huddersfield, and provides legal advice on issues relating to commercial law, family law, property, immigration, personal injury and crime.
Tony Rafferty, chief executive of Printing.com, said: “Our main focus will be to help young entrepreneurs from the graphic arts sector, including graphic and web designers – but we want to hear from young entrepreneurs from other sectors, too.
“Our business is partly based on a network of franchises and we already provide lots of mentoring.
“We know how to help people get going.
“As a former director of the British Franchise Association I’m also keen to get the Start-Up Loan Scheme out in the broader franchise community.
“We have a wealth of experience built up over many years in this area.”
James Caan, who chairs the Start-Up Loans Company, said: “We welcome Printing.com’s involvement in the scheme and we are thrilled with the momentum the scheme continues to maintain.
“To be an entrepreneur is more than having a job. It gives you the freedom to make your own mark, in the way in which you choose and create your own path to success.
“It can be challenging and exceptionally hard work, but the rewards are immeasurable.”
Tony Rafferty set up Printing.com when he was 24-years old with a £3,000 loan from his father and operated the business from home.
The business is now a global firm and is listed on the London Stock Exchange’s AIM market.
Mr Rafferty said: “In our sector, you still really can create a business with just a Mac, Adobe’s Creative Suite and a connection to the internet – provided you can afford the hardware and software.
“I’m often struck by the level of support available to young people going into higher education, which far exceeds the backing for young entrepreneurs taking their first steps in business.”
Printing.com hopes to help approximately 200 entrepreneurs in the next year, and the overall scheme aims to support 45,000 young business people by 2015.
Go to www.printing.com/entrepreneurs. Applicants are invited to submit their business plan or simply an outline of their idea. A Printing.com mentor will then get in touch and take them through the process.