“For many years I have campaigned for more focus on small business and start ups as the way to get growth in the economy and to create more jobs. This needs to be backed by more bank lending and start up loans for entrepreneurs…” Sir Richard Branson

About Virgin StartUp



Virgin StartUp is on a mission to change the prospects of start-ups, for good. We help businesses get funding, get a mentor and get ahead.


We are a not-for-profit company founded by Richard Branson and Virgin in 2013, to support entrepreneurs based in England who are planning to launch a start-up or are within their first 12 months of trading as a business.


As a Delivery Partner of the StartUp Loans scheme the funding we offer is a loan provided by the Government and ranges from £500 up to £25,000. We work with the Cavendish Consortium, a group made up of six of the largest enterprise agencies across England, together with the National Enterprise Network to deliver this funding and support across the whole of England.


Since launching we’ve funded hundreds of businesses and given out over £1.5m. To take a look at a snapshot of these business head over to our Entrepreneur Stories page or watch the video starring a few of the businesses we’ve helped below.



If you’re a British citezin or legal resident of the UK and aged over 18, this funding is open to you.


Our support helps entrepreneurs in five ways:


  1. Business advice – every eligible loan applicant will be supported by a Business Adviser to complete a full business plan and financial projections.

  3.  Funding – we are able to provide a business loan of £500-£25,000, plus top-up payment options (up to the maximum of £25,000 per co-founder).

  5.  Mentoring – all successful loan applicants will be matched with a local mentor who will be committed to at least 15 hours of one-on-one face-to-face support over a year.

  7.  Opportunities to gain unique support from Virgin Group – for successful loan applicants, we will share chances to feature in content, media and campaigns. This can give your business priceless exposure to an international audience.

  9.  Content and resources – for entrepreneurs across every stage of starting a business, we produce digital content to inspire, motivate and advise.


We believe our support is a great way to get ahead. Here’s why: 


  • We financially support businesses without taking equity.

Especially at the early stages, it can be hard to work out how much a business is worth and what you’re willing to give up. Our funding enables entrepreneurs to retain their stake, even if investors are another part of the funding model, or become one at a later date.


  • Our loans are Government-backed and low-interest.

We offer an interest rate of 6.17% APR Representative (fixed rate) and the loan can be paid back within one to five years. That’s an annual interest rate.


  • We realise entrepreneurs make mistakes.

The trick is to learn from them. Even some of the world’s best entrepreneurs didn’t succeed until their third or fourth idea. With this in mind, although we carry out a credit check for all loan applicants, it will not wholly determine the outcome of your application.


  • Our mentors believe in you – and us.

All our mentors are experienced entrepreneurs that are unpaid-volunteers who are sharing their time and expertise because they genuinely care about supporting a new wave of British businesses.


  • This is just the beginning.

A loan and mentor is just the start. Virgin Group offers a host of other support. For example, through our sister programme, Virgin Media Pioneers, entrepreneurs can access a community of like-minded individuals to build networks, access advise and share experiences.