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Richard Branson backs Virgin Media Pioneers campaign for a Youth Investment Fund

Richard Branson backs Virgin Media Pioneers campaign for a Youth Investment Fund

Virgin Media Pioneers is running a campaign to get a Youth Investment Fund (YIF) announced in the 2012 Budget. The fund would make loans available to aspiring entrepreneurs on similar terms to student loans.

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The YIF campaign follows the publication of the Virgin Media Pioneers report, Control Shift, in November 2011, which calls on the government and big business to do more to support the next generation of entrepreneurs and proposes five actionable approaches for nurturing young entrepreneurs. Unsurprisingly, given the current economic climate, these reflected anxiety about access to the small scale finance needed to get businesses off the ground.

Control Shift highlights what many across the sector feel – that young people should be able to access funds to start businesses, on equally favourable terms as loans provided to those choosing to study for a degree in Business Studies or Enterprise.

As university application numbers fall and more young people consider alternative career paths, we think it is time for a re-evaluation of the value society places on gaining a degree above other careers. There is a role for the entire enterprise sector to ensure that mentoring and support facilities are in place so that the inevitable risk associated with granting start-up loans is underpinned by robust, long-term business support.

That's where the YIF comes in - a simple idea that makes a lot of sense! In fact, at a recent PM-Direct session in Maidenhead, David Cameron agreed that YIF is a 'brilliant idea'. What do you think?

To find out more, take a look at Pioneer Zoe Jackson’s campaign insights.

Join the campaign by Tweeting your opinion using #YouthInvestmentFund or by signing our petition.

To read the YIF proposal in full, take a look at Chapter 4 of the Control Shift report.