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Norwich centre to boost start-up loan scheme

PUBLISHED: 11:24 01 June 2013 | UPDATED: 11:24 01 June 2013

Mike Dawson of Printing.com

Mike Dawson of Printing.com

Archant

A drop-in centre has been launched in Norwich to help budding entrepreneurs with the government's start-up loan scheme.

Business advisors at the site, at 7-13 Rose Lane, can assist with creating a business plan or applying for the loan, which can provide people under 30 with up to £10,000.

The centre has been set-up in the office of Printing.com – an official partner of the start-up loan project.

It comes after a recent report revealed that the East of England is on the cusp of a “youth business boom” as the economic climate drives more young people to consider becoming their own boss.

The survey by The Prince’s Trust found 36pc of the region’s 16- to 30-year-olds thought they would be self-employed in the future – higher than the national average of 30pc.

But David Duncan, chief executive of Norwich-based digital agency Square Social, which was one of the first businesses in the country to get a start-up loan, said the scheme can help firms overcome barriers to finance.

He said: “We started the business in 2012, influenced largely by the dire state of the jobs market.

“It’s true that access to finance is a major hurdle for start-ups today and, at first, our only option was to fund the business ourselves.

“I ploughed a significant chunk of my monthly pay packet from my previous job into the company. It was hard work, but, like most entrepreneurs, I was determined. Now I’m satisfied that my determination had paid off.”

He added: “Because we were using our own money, it was absolutely vital that when we made mistakes, we learnt from them.

“As such, we had no choice but to hone our business model incredibly quickly.”

Meanwhile, Mike Dawson, Norwich director of Printing.com, said: “We can explain the process in person and provide advice on how to structure their application and business plan.

“Our customers include lots of businesses which are taking their first steps so this was a natural fit for us.”

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