‘Rise in bedroom entrepreneurs’, say business help groups

Groups which help young people to start their own businesses say they’ve seen a rise in interest in the last 12 months.

StartUp Britain, Rockstar Youth and the government’s own Start-Up Loans scheme say that increasing numbers of 16 to 30-year-olds are asking for help.

More ways to get funding along with high levels of unemployment are said to be behind the rise.

The Prince’s Trust says in the 12 months from October 2011 calls to its start-up helpline rose by 75%.

They went up from just under 800 to nearly 1,400.

Kieza De Sousa, 19, has been given a small government loan to help him run his T-shirt printing business.

He says after leaving school aged 16 he struggled to get a job, but used skills that he developed at a community project to start his company.

“If you’re coming home and your fridge is not full and you’re not able to get support from your parents the only person you can rely on is you,” he said.

“Eventually before I knew it people knew me as the T-shirt guy.”

The government’s start-up loan scheme says as of this month it has handed out more than £2 million in small loans.

The average number of applications it is assessing each week has gone up.

The government’s scheme, which started last year, has been criticised though.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has raised concerns that average loan amounts are too low.

Others have warned that most new companies go bust within the first few years.

Kieza admits he is now under pressure to make sure he earns enough to pay back the money, but he says getting his loan means he can buy his own equipment.

“If you want the economy to change we need more people to stand up, be bold and brave and create the jobs that are not there right now,” he said.

“Being an entrepreneur sounds cool. Although it is difficult, it’s very rewarding,”

Source: bbc.co.uk