Sat, May 09, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Premier announces low-interest loans for youth start-ups

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) yesterday announced a low-interest loan program to assist people aged between 20 and 45 to start their own businesses.

The program does not place limits on the number of people who can apply.

“Young people are a highly motivated, precious resource for Taiwan. The new Youth Entrepreneurship Loan Program can facilitate their business start-up and benefit economic development as a whole,” Liu said.

Liu made the remarks at a ceremony organized by the National Youth Commission of the Executive Yuan to introduce the new program.

“Taiwan is a beautiful island full of opportunities for people to start up their own businesses, and Taiwanese people like to be their own boss. More than 98 percent of the country’s businesses are small and medium-sized enterprises, which employ 77 percent of the country’s work force,” Liu said.

The loan program, which was established in 1968, has an average of 2,384 applicants a year.

Under the new plan, the government will provide free classes and groups of consultants to help applicants run their business.

National Youth Commission Minister Wang Yu-ting (王昱婷) said that young people who have good credit ratings and whose businesses were set up less than three years ago would qualify for the loan.

People discharged from prison would be exempt from the credit regulation, Wang said.

The commission expects to see 2,000 applications this year, which it said could create up to 4,200 jobs.

Each applicant will be granted a collateral loan of up to NT$4 million (US$120,000) or a credit loan of up to NT$1 million, while the collateral loan for several applicants for a single enterprise could be as high as NT$12 million.

The interest rate for a loan below NT$1 million is 2.025 percent, while the interest rate for loans above NT$1 million is 2.125 percent, lower than the current market interest rate of between 6 percent and 7 percent.

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