The Government-backed Start Up Loan scheme has issued its 20,000th loan taking the total advanced to entrepreneurs under the programme to more than £100 million, David Cameron has announced.

Melissa Mailer-Yates of Stratford-upon-Avon received £6,000 to finance Shakepuss & Co which is developing animated characters aimed at introducing children to Shakespeare plays.

The Prime Minister, who embarks today on a regional tour of the North West, said: "As part of our long-term economic plan we are backing business and ensuring our budding entrepreneurs get the finance and support they need to kick-start and grow their businesses."

The Start Up Loan scheme aims to distribute £151 million to support 30,000 new businesses by 2015.