What is a Virgin StartUp Loan?

A Start Up Loan is an unsecured personal loan for business purposes, which is specifically designed for early stage start-ups that require funding to get to the next stage. Borrowers do not need collateral nor lose any equity stake and it can complement other types of funding you may be pursuing.

Virgin StartUp have partnered with the Government’s Start Up Loans Company to offer British-based entrepreneurs loans of £500 - £25,000, repayable over up to five years, at a fixed annual interest rate of 6.17%, with no early repayment penalties.

Am I eligible?

To apply for a Virgin StartUp Loan, you must be at least 18 years old, be an EU passport holder (or have a valid UK visa) and your business must be two years old or less.

How do I apply?

Click here to register your interest and we'll get back to you with next steps!

How much can I borrow and what are the terms?

You can borrow anything from £500 to £25,000, repayable over up to five years, at a fixed annual interest rate of 6.17%, with no early repayment penalties.

What additional support do you provide?

Virgin StartUp isn’t just about loans - we’re built by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs; we offer you our wisdom, knowledge and expertise to better the prospects of your start-up. With every loan comes mentoring and access to exclusive offers and opportunities from the Virgin Group. Here's a breakdown of what you can expect to receive:

  • Business Advice - every eligible loan applicant is partnered with a business adviser who will help you complete a full business plan and set of financial projections;
  • Virgin StartUp Loans range from £500 - £25,000, with a fixed interest rate of 6.17%. Repayment terms can be up to five years and there are no early repayment penalties;
  • All successful loan applicants will be matched with a hand-picked mentor. Our volunteer mentors are committed to at least 15 hours of free one-on-one support for the first year of your new business;
  • Every loan comes with exclusive offers and opportunities throughout the Virgin Group and beyond;
  • You will be invited to join the Virgin StartUp Club, which gives you access to a community of entrepreneurs, training, workshops, masterclasses and peer-to-peer networking.

In addition, the Start Up Loans Company have secured some exclusive business offers. These will provide you with discounts on a number of business products and services that you may find useful when launching your start-up. To see how these offers could benefit your business and to redeem, visit the Start Up Loans website.

How long will it take to receive my loan?

There is no specific timeframe from registering to being approved for a loan. Every entrepreneur and business idea is different and at varying degrees of progression when they apply to us. Some take 3 weeks to process, some take almost a year! It is really important that we fund businesses at the right stage when they are ready for funding and we’ll work with you to get you to that stage, however your engagement with the process and how proactive you are throughout the process, will play a critical part in the length of time it takes.

What happens after I register?

We'll call you within 2 weeks of completing your online registration form and ask you a few questions, which will help us decide the best next steps for you. Depending on what stage you’re at and where you are in the country, we’ll either encourage you to fill out our free business plan template, or book you onto one of our free all-day workshops, where you’ll learn more about starting a business. If you work hard on your business plan, it's likely that you’ll then be matched with a business advisor, who will help you put together your loan application.

I'm an International student living in the UK. Can I apply?

Yes, international students living and studying in the UK can apply, but your visa must permit you to work in the UK, and your business plan must clearly show that you’ll be able to repay your loan during the length of your stay.

Can I use the loan to buy a franchise?

Yes - subject to our normal lending conditions. Check out whichfranchise.com for more information on franchising.

It's a loan, not a grant then?

No. A grant is a non-repayable fund provided by an individual or an organisation for a particular purpose. Grants are often awarded to non-profit entities, as well as businesses or individuals. The process for applying for a grant for a specific business will almost always include some level of compliance and reporting, which will then be assessed for eligibility by the grant maker. You can apply for a grant from the government, the European Union, local councils and charities. Generally, you will not need to pay a grant back, but there is a lot of competition and they are almost always awarded for a specific purpose or project.

The main difference between a grant and a Start Up Loan is that a Start Up Loan must be repaid.

What is a mentor?

A mentor is an individual with business experience who will provide support and guidance to help make your business a success. Take a look at our mentoring pages to find out more.

How do I become a mentor?

If you would like to become a mentor, click here to find out more about what's involved and to apply.

How do I partner with Virgin StartUp to help support the UK’s entrepreneurs?

Click here to email us and tell us what you think you can do to help us better support our entrepreneurs. We’ll take a look at it and get back to you if we're interested.

What's the difference between the New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) and a Start Up Loan?

There is no longer a separate loan product for NEA-referred applicants. All successful applicants who apply for an NEA-referred loan receive a Start Up Loan. Whilst the route to access for a Start Up Loan may be different for NEA-referred applicants, the loan product itself is identical. Additionally, all applicants who receive an NEA-referred Start Up Loans are entitled to the same level of post-loan support as other Start Up Loans applicants, including mentoring and access to a variety of corporate offers to help reduce the cost of running a business. Click here to find out more.

Can I receive a Start Up Loan if I have an NEA loan?

If you receive a loan through the NEA scheme, you may be able to apply for further funding through the Start Up Loans programme if your business requires it. In this instance you must: i) demonstrate that your business is performing well and that there is a business case for additional funding; ii) not have been in arrears for three consecutive months or been in arrears during any of the last three months; and iii) not have been trading for more than 36 months.

Do I lose my Jobseekers Allowance if I take a Start Up Loan?

Yes, you will likely lose your job seekers allowance if you receive a Start Up Loan. For more information, click here.

How can I work with other Virgin companies?

Some of our start-ups have gone on to work with Virgin companies such as Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Active. Exciting opportunities like this sometimes do happen and if we think you’d be perfect for it, we will contact you directly. We regret that we can’t otherwise put you in touch directly with other Virgin companies or guarantee working with them, but if you’re interested in working with big brands why not consider attending one of our Doing Business with Big Business workshops? Visit our Events page to find out more.

What do I do if I'm not happy with the service provided by Virgin StartUp?

We care very much about the level of service we provide to entrepreneurs, but with the volume of interest we receive in what we offer, sometimes things slip through the net. If this has happened to you, we're sorry! The best thing you can do is speak to the member of staff you have been dealing with - or email us - we're always really happy to help!

However, if you still feel as though you'd like to raise a complaint after that, then click here for more information on how to do so.