Over the next two years, Virgin StartUp, the non-profit organisation that serves as the Virgin Group’s centre for entrepreneurship, will support three times as many UK entrepreneurs by providing £36 million in Start Up Loans.
Since its founding by Richard Branson in 2013, Virgin StartUp has supported the British Business Bank’s Start Up Loan programme as a business support partner. In that time, it has given £70 million in investment to 5,000 UK business founders, and as of 2019, it has made the 50/50 pledge, pledging to encourage founders of both sexes equally.
With this growth, Virgin StartUp will be able to assist 3,000 early-stage founders over the course of the next two years, assisting thousands of new business owners from all across the UK who frequently struggle to obtain financing from conventional lenders.
In the past ten years, Virgin StartUp has invested in some of the UK’s fastest-growing start-ups, such as DASH Water, Castore, NICE Drinks, and Mous, a renowned international manufacturer of protective gadget accessories.
In 2014, Mous obtained a £7,000 Start Up Loan from Virgin StartUp, which provided the brand the boost it required. Mous is currently valued at £65 million and has 1.8 million customers in more than 150 countries. Additionally, BrewDog creator James Watt acknowledged it in a Crowdcube financing effort when he was looking for the next unicorn company with a billion dollar valuation.
We attended a Virgin StartUp course, and we immediately quit our jobs’, said James Griffith, CEO and co-founder of Mous. The money from the Start Up Loan was immediately put to good use when we used it to purchase a 3D printer. To master the manufacturing industry, we also relocated to China. Although it was a risky choice, it ended up being the best one we’ve ever made.
The Virgin StartUp’s Managing Director, Andy Fishburn, added: “Listening to the concepts of startup founders who want to make a positive difference in the world is one of the most exciting things there is. In the last ten years, we’ve had the pleasure of providing 5,000 entrepreneurs with a Start Up Loan, and we can’t think of a better way to commemorate this achievement than to announce that we will be funding many more thousands over the coming few years.For a lot more would-be entrepreneurs, the Start Up Loan programme makes launching a firm a reality. We are happy to have been a part of their journey and are forward to meet and help the upcoming generation of business leaders.
Founders of new businesses in the UK are eligible to apply for StartUp Loans with amounts ranging from £500 to £25,000 and fixed interest rates of 6% with no early repayment fees. Additionally, Virgin StartUp provides its community of like-minded founders, scale-up courses, business counselling, mentoring, and access to additional training to its founders.