Only a handful of people have come forward to take advantage of a £110 million government-backed scheme designed to lend money to young people wanting to start their own business.
Leisure Leagues Franchise admitted they were “baffled and disappointed” by the level of uptake in a scheme they were keen to champion.
The firm, who have franchisees across the world, teamed up with a government-backed scheme designed to lend money to youngsters between 18-30 who are trying to start their own business, but have had only a handful of applicants have so far come forward.
Leisure Leagues Franchise Director, Andy Taylor, said he was struggling to understand the situation and added: “We were approached by the people concerned, who thought there was a tremendous synergy between what we were trying to do and their scheme. Looking at what they were offering, we agreed to help and had hoped to let young entrepreneurs use some of the £110m to build their own football businesses, but that has not happened.”
The result is millions of pounds of money remains unclaimed and, says Mr Taylor, this is worrying for all sorts of reasons: “You only have to turn on the news to see how tough it is for young people to get jobs. What we hoped to do in backing this scheme was to do our own tiny bit to help. It is both baffling and disappointing to see that the scheme has, at this stage, not worked in the way we had hoped in the UK.”
By contrast the firm, who also sells franchises in the US, has seen youngsters over there running leagues and Mr Taylor admitted he wondered if the mindset in America might be different.
“Certainly they seem to have more of a ‘can do’ attitude in the States and our people over there are doing superbly,” he said.
Official government figures show that 20% of young people aged between 16-24 are unemployed, making up over a third of the jobless total with the percentage for the East of the country currently at 18% and the Director had a simple message for those people trying to get work: “What we are saying is this money is available to you, and not just for our Franchise, but for whatever you are interested in. The public perception is that young people are lazy and don’t want to work – so prove them wrong.
“The funds are in place, there are literally millions of pounds waiting to be used by business people under 30 to build a life for themselves, we can help, as long as people want to be helped.”
For more information on Leisure Leagues Franchise, and how you could get funding, email email@example.com or ring 0333-123-2340.