Tony Rafferty
Miranda Dobson

Member Article

Start-Up Loans recruit as private partner

Manchester-based firm,, has signed up as one of the first private sector partners for the Government’s Start-Up Loans scheme.

The programme is backed by entrepreneur and former Dragons’ Den panelist James Caan, and is designed to help young people start their own businesses.

Loans of up to £10,000 can be obtained from the £112m cash pot, while the initiative will also provide start-ups with business mentoring., which is an AIM listed firm based at Trafford Park in Manchester, will take part in the venture along with other major delivery partners such as The Prince’s Trust.

The company will interview and mentor applicants, as well as helping them to develop business plans and approving loans.

After its launch in September 2012, the Start-Up Loan programme was extended to applicants up to the age of 30, while additional funds were pumped into the scheme in January.

Tony Rafferty, chief executive of, commented: “Our main focus will be to help young entrepreneurs from the graphic arts sector including graphic and web designers.

“But we want to hear from young entrepreneurs from other sectors too. Our business is partly based on a franchise model and we already provide lots of mentoring support within that network.

“We know how to help people get going. As a former director of the British Franchise Association I’m also keen to get the Start-Up Loan Scheme out in the broader franchise community. We have a wealth of experience built up over many years in this area.”

James Caan, who is chairman of the Start-Up Loans Company, said: “We welcome’s involvement in the scheme and we are thrilled with the momentum the scheme continues to maintain. To be an entrepreneur is more than having a job.

“It gives you the freedom to make your own mark, in the way in which you choose, and create your own path to success. It can be challenging, and exceptionally hard work, but the rewards are immeasurable.”

Tony Rafferty set up when he was 24-years old with a £3,000 loan from his father and operated the business from home.

The business is now a global firm and is listed on the London Stock Exchange’s AIM market,

Mr Rafferty added: “In our sector you still really can create a business with just a Mac, Adobe’s Creative Suite and a connection to the internet – provided you can afford the hardware and software.

“I’m often struck the level of support available to young people going into higher education, which far exceeds the backing for young entrepreneurs taking their first steps in business.” hopes to help approximately 200 entrepreneurs in the next year, and the overall scheme aims to support 45,000 young business people by 2015.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Miranda Dobson .

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