A LOAN scheme for young entrepreneurs is to be extended to Northern Ireland, the Deputy Prime Minister has announced.
In Great Britain, the Start Up Loans scheme has already committed over £26m in loans and £4m in support to help over 5,000 people aged 18 to 30 set up businesses, almost half of whom were previously unemployed, since it launched in autumn 2012.
Nick Clegg made the announcement before Friday's British-Irish Council meeting in Londonderry. The plan was initially included in the funding package for Northern Ireland announced ahead of the G8 summit last Friday.
The Deputy Prime Minister said that he wants young people in Northern Ireland to be able to use the scheme to turn their enterprising ideas into live businesses.
The meeting, which will be chaired by the First Minister, Peter Robinson, and deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, is only the second time a BIC Summit has been held in Northern Ireland, and the first since July 2007.
It will focus on the economy, including the impact of energy costs, the UK City of Culture experience, and proposals for a new BIC Creative Industries work sector.