The cloud is the only way startup schemes can be effective in today’s economy with its tight credit and constantly evolving technology. There is no money to invest in young people starting businesses and the banks aren’t lending. A cloud-based business can be run on a shoestring with a king-hit result. Let’s embrace the cloud as a launch pad. It’s full potential still hasn’t been realised.

Cloud computing” means storing data on remote servers instead of your computer’s hard drive. Salesforce and Google, the first cloud computing services websites, began in 1999. Google Apps now provides common business applications online with the documents being stored online. This gives startups more flexibility and reduces costs.

Cloud computing suppliers also conduct the server maintenance, including security updates. The services usually are pay-as-you-go, eliminating the need for capital expenditures. They also have minimal startup costs and operating expenses are easier to forecast.

The startup loans scheme has suffered from something of a disconnect because young people don’t realise how much they can do with a small sum such as £2,500. It’s actually quite a lot for a beginning business if it is spent correctly.

The global cloud computing market will grow from £25.2 billion in 2011 to £149 billion in 2020, according to Forrester Research. In 2012-13, the UK’s cloud computing industry is expected to generate £5.79 billion in revenue, a 6.5 percent increase from 2011. Annual growth in the next five years is predicted to be 13.2 percent, reaching £10.8 billion.

An estimated 18 percent of small and medium UK businesses use cloud computing and another 30 percent are expected to do so in the next year. By 2015, it is expected to account for nine percent of the UK’s IT services and software market.

My company is an “organically grown technology enterprise” with no funding and debt and the cloud helps make that possible. Young people don’t realise the opportunity before them. They can save 90 percent on the costs of a traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ business.

That is money that can go back into servicing customers and growing the business instead of buying hardware that’s liable to be obsolete in a few years. Scaling up with the cloud is very fast, it’s fantastic – off-site storage systems save the pains of increasing storage capacity locally.