An extra 4,000 people have applied for funding through the government's £112m loan scheme for startup businesses since the age limit was extended to the under 30s.
Launched last year for entrepreneurs in England aged 16-24, the Start-Up Loans scheme was expanded to include those aged up to 30 on 3 January. As the extension was announced, it was revealed that 3,000 people had applied for the scheme, a figure which was criticised by some commentators as disappointing.
But new figures out today show 4,000 have applied for finance in January taking the total applications to 7,000. The exact amount of loans approved has not yet been released although £1.5m was confirmed in the first few months of the scheme and £500,000 was approved last week. The average loan is around £2,500.
James Caan, chairman of the Start-Up Loans Company, said: "I believe this surge we are seeing from young people starting their own businesses is simply the beginning of an emerging and lasting trend in entrepreneurship in Britain.
"Entrepreneurship is a viable career option for young people. Self employment and small business is the heart-beat that keeps us ticking and in todays economy I am delighted to see so many young people have the confidence to take their future into their own hands."
"Start-Up Loans are unsecured which is exactly what young people with no track-record of business or collateral need to get their idea off the ground."
Start-Up Loans has £112m to distribute by 2015. As well as funding, successful applicants receive a mentor as well as products and services from sponsors.