UK
09/12/2013 12:41 GMT | Updated 09/12/2013 12:45 GMT

Britain's Oldest Entrepreneurs: David And Sandra Pledger Start Business In Their 70s

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Royal Navy veteran David Pledger (left), 71, and wife Sandra, 73, from Stoney Stratton in Somerset, who have secured a £25,000 start-up loan for their new company, as the couple claim to be Britain's oldest entrepreneurial couple, after launching a business

Royal Navy veteran David Pledger, 71, and wife Sandra, 73, from Stoney Stratton in Somerset, have secured a £25,000 start-up loan for their new company, making them potentially Britain's oldest couple to start a business.

The Pledgers, who have been married for almost 45 years, will use the money to launch Full House Marketing, a booking website for independent inns and guest houses which will launch next February.

Their ambitious move comes just days after Chancellor George Osborne announced changes to the state pension age, meaning young people will have to work until they are 70.

The £25,000 loan was granted after the Pledgers approached X-Forces, a social enterprise to help veterans and their families realise their entrepreneurial aspirations.

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Mr Pledger, who served as a mechanical engineer and diver in the Royal Navy from 1959 to 1966, said the couple were told the loan had been approved last week.

"X-Forces were on the ball throughout the whole business planning process and when submitting our loan request," he added.

"The entire process took less than three months and I can't thank them enough for their help and support in making our dream a reality".

"For small hotels, using commercial packages to improve occupancy such as LateRooms doesn't provide a good return on investment because of the high commission rates," he added.

"Our technology will offer a package to family-run and independent hoteliers that is both affordable and profitable."

The Pledgers have spent the past three months under the guidance of experts at X-Forces, which was launched by Lord Young in the summer and has the backing of Cisco and Barclays.

Ren Kapur, managing director of X-Forces, praised the couple as an "inspiration", saying: "David and Sandra are an inspiration to all of us, the lift on the age cap for start-up loans which previously constrained so many has meant that more people can now get into business and do their part to help the UK's economic recovery,"

"Age should be no barrier to realising one's potential and for those military veterans who have served the UK so loyally and with such selfless commitment this is a real success story."