05/01/2012 07:24 GMT | Updated 05/01/2012 07:34 GMT

Young Entrepreneurs Offered Support By David Cameron

Young entrepreneurs could be offered Government loans to help them start up a business along similar lines to the loans which help fund students through university, Prime Minister David Cameron said today.

Mr Cameron described the idea - one of the proposals in November's Control Shift report from Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Media Pioneers campaign for young entrepreneurs - as "brilliant".

Speaking to an audience of small businesses in Maidenhead, Berkshire, he said the Government might be announcing a scheme along these lines in the future.

At present, young people who decide to go into higher education can obtain loans of up to £9,000 a year to cover tuition fees and £7,675 for maintenance. Interest charged on the borrowing is set at favourable rates, compared with those on offer commercially.

Zoe Jackson, founder of the Living the Dream performing arts company in St Albans, who took part in the Control Shift programme, told Mr Cameron: "The Government invests in young people that want to go to university, but not those who have valid business ideas as well.

"Why not set up a youth investment fund at the same rates as student loans available to support young people and nurture their potential?"

Mr Cameron replied: "There's a very good idea in there that Richard Branson has come up with and others have been looking at, which is that, okay, we are providing loans for students to go to university - why not look at something similar for people who have got a great business idea and want to get on and start that business?

"I think this is a brilliant idea and we are looking very closely at it."

He added: "We might be announcing something like this later on."