Over £2.5 million in seed finance has been released by a delivery partner of the government’s Start Up Loans scheme to fund approximately 400 new start-up businesses in London over the next twelve months.
Start Up Direct, which has recently established a base in Shoreditch at the heart of London’s Tech City, is offering talented individuals who wish to start a business up to £15,000 each.
In addition to providing capital, the organisation says it will match every entrepreneur with a mentor to help them develop their business over the first year. Entrepreneurs will also have access to workshops and networking events, one-to-one business coaching and a business helpline.
James Pattison, managing director of Start Up Direct, said: “This £2.5 million to be lent over the coming year is going to have a significant impact on London’s start up scene, particularly around Tech City.
“We are seeing a real coming together of talent and ideas, alongside an enthusiasm for entrepreneurship from investors and the Government who recognise that start-ups are playing a vital role in the economic recovery.”
One such business which has already benefitted from a £15,000 Start Up Direct loan in September last year, is tech start up Race Yourself. Founded by childhood friends and recent university graduates Alex Foster (24) and Ben Gamble (25), Race Yourself is an app for the soon to be released Google Glass.
The app aims to make exercise more interesting by transforming it into an augmented reality game. Wearing the Google Glass, a wearable computer which fits onto the head, users can race against themselves, a friend, a 400 tonne cargo train or even a horde of flesh eating zombies.
Since receiving the Start Up Direct Loan, the company has expanded its team to ten and developed a prototype, as well as securing a further £200,000 of angel investment.
Co-founder Alex Foster said: “We started out last summer with a great idea and some personal savings, but we needed a cash injection to develop it into a workable product. We have since expanded and set up operations in San Francisco and we’re now focusing on fine tuning our app to make sure it’s spot on by the time Google Glass launches later this year.
“2014 is set to be the year of wearable technology and the growing gamification of real life. We intend to ride this wave and be one of the first tech-fit apps available to people who want to take the simple act of going for a run or a cycle ride to the next level.”
To date, Start Up Direct has provided over £1.8m million in funding to hundreds of entrepreneurs.
To find out more about applying for a start up loan, visit http://loans.startupdirect.org