From gluten free pet food to bespoke granola - the startups funded with taxpayer money

A range of chewable baby bangles, a perfume for teenagers called ‘Pink Addiction’ and an alternative diet practitioner are all recipients of loans from the £69m government scheme Start Up Loans, which is supported by David Cameron.

A list published by Downing Street has detailed the various new startups and New Enterprise Allowance businesses that were funded by the government.

The gluten free dog food is kept company by a startup that makes dog treats made from organic local ingredients. And, reminding us all of our halcyon hockey days, is a shop for custom fit mouth guards.

There’s more gluten free in the form of cakes and burgers that are stocked at Harrods and Fortnum and Mason, T-shirts decorated with screen prints, ghost walks and a fortnightly delivery of children’s toys.

Out of 92 businesses listed, ten described their products as bespoke - all the way from cocktails to recycled glass speakers.

Almost 7,600 businesses have been backed by Start Up Loans, which aims to provide loans and mentors for entrepreneurs. Launched in May 2012 by Lord Young, the initiative intends to assist in a tough jobs market with high youth unemployment. Its chairman is the Dragons’ Den panelist James Caan.

Sam Bowman of the ASI comments:

Investment in startups is vitally important, but also extremely risky and difficult. The private sector doesn't have special knowledge that allows it to outinvest the state, but it does have a very strong profit motive that forces it to invest dispassionately. Government agencies don't have that profit mechanism and, as a result, are likely to act more recklessly with taxpayers' cash than the private sector.

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