Dreams of 500 entrepreneurs to become reality with release of £3m start up cash

The cash, available through Startup Direct, a partner of the Government’s Start Up Loans scheme (launched by the Prime Minister David Cameron pictured), will help make the dreams of the capital’s budding entrepreneurs a reality in 2015.

Based in the heart of Tech City, Startup Direct has seen strong interest from technology start ups in particular over the last twelve months and anticipates that this sector will account for at least 30 per cent of new businesses funded this year.

“Early funding is essential to enable entrepreneurs to get their business off the ground, patent an idea, secure a co-working space and invest in product development, before they are in a position to seek major first round funding from VCs and crowdfunding platforms”, said James Pattison, CEO of Startup Direct. “London’s start up scene is brimming with talent and ideas, which attracted record levels of venture capital last year. This £3 million and the support and mentoring which comes with it, is going to have a significant impact on those just setting out on their start up journey.”

One such business that benefitted from a recent £5,000 Startup Direct loan is technology start up Go Local, an app which enables users to find the best happy hours, meal deals, quiz nights and late nights, wherever they are and whatever time it is. Created by friends Simon Fellowes, Dave Thomas and Grant Webber, the app aims to give everyone the kind of local knowledge, recommendations and tips shared among friends and locals.

Simon said, “The idea for Go Local was born from a personal desire to hunt down the most exciting places to go and the best deals, instead of walking into the pub five minutes after happy hour ends. Our loan from Startup Direct has enabled us to focus on the development of the app and fund some early marketing ahead of our launch in April this year. Our mentor works for Microsoft and has been invaluable in guiding us through some recent challenges and connecting us to useful contacts which we wouldn’t otherwise have made.”

Startup Direct is targeting talented individuals who wish to start a business in any sector. As well as offering loans of up to £25,000, Startup Direct matches every entrepreneur with a mentor who will be on hand to help and guide them as they develop their business over the first year. Entrepreneurs also have access to workshops and networking events, one to one business coaching and a business helpline.

In anticipation of funding over 500 new businesses in the capital this year, Startup Direct is also growing its family of mentors, who provide vital support to entrepreneurs. They are required to give a minimum of just fifteen hours of their time over the course of one year, offering general guidance and support as well as acting as a sounding board. Mentors receive formal mentor training and the opportunity to hone their skills, expand their own networks and gain valuable experience that can often lead to Non Executive Director roles.

To apply for a start up loan or find out more about becoming a mentor, visit www.startupdirect.org