The Government have today launched a scheme to offer loans to 18 – 24 year olds, of up to £2,500. This is good news outwardly, but I will wait and see the small print. So many government initiatives are reworkings of existing schemes, and often replace monies already in existence but funded elsewhere. £82m is not to be sneezed at!
It appears Dragons Den Celebrity James Caan is to Chair this initiative, and whilst this is a serious businessman, who has earned the t shirt, it is beginning to look like David Cameron is becoming the new Tony Blair, in that celebrity by association seems to be a developing pattern. The Governement have just announced a Mary Portas scheme for the high street, which in essence gives a small number of towns £100,000 to trial the schemes that they put forward. All money is welcome, however, £100,000 buys very little in terms of expertise these days, let alone hard goods. Consultants do not come cheap!
I worked for the Princes Trust for 3 years and they are a fantastic organisation, however, even they worked out there are 3 alternatives for young people. 1. Further Education to obtain better qualifications. 2. Assistance to find a job, providing skills lacking to facilitate a better chance at employment. 3. and lastly! not first! Start a Business.
Many young people have no conception of debt responsibility, as in most cases no-one has ever given them a loan! their first exposure to this is through organisations that mean well, but ultimately place a burdon on the very people they are trying to help. The Trust DO act responsibly, and ensure that the 3 part approach stated above is adopted first.
I hope David Cameron and James Caan take a similar approach?
I have no knowledge who is to be given the funds to administer, so this is just my thoughts.
At a time when Enterprise agencies, with vast experience are going to the wall, should the Goverment not be doing more to keep these alive, before we have nowhere for people to go for genuine expert advice? As I write there is no follow up to the “intensive start up support” program in the North West; it ended months ago, and the allocated funds for it’s successor are still sat in a bank somewhere. Why?
Before we give loans, we should provide training for young Entrepeneurs. Providing a short 3 or 4 day course would ensure that they go into this enter[prise with their eyes open, not lured by fools gold. Young people here £2,500, and only when things get tough hear the word loan. I know of many young people who are worse off now than before they were given loans. New businesses have a high failure rate, and many fail through a lack of liquidity in the early days. I urge the Government and James Caan to think carefully. In Blackpool, we have helped hundreds of young people open their own Business, in many cases successfully, however, some failed. The link to the article is below.
I hope you find this interesting. A llok at The Princes Trust website is well worth a look if you are 18-30. Remeber they only operate in certain areas!!
As always, Geoff Reeves, FYCreatives, Church Street, Blackpool 01253 477147