Our mission is to help startups all over the UK get off the ground and reach their potential, the first step of which is to provide access to funding through low-interest Start Up Loans from the Start Up Loans company. We’ve helped thousands of entrepreneurs this way.
Every entrepreneur who receives a Start Up Loan through Virgin StartUp is supported by our mentoring programme, plus they get access to opportunities and resources. A Start Up Loan provides entrepreneurs with vital early-stage capital, starting from just £500 and rising to £25,000 per co-founder in the business. But why choose a Start Up Loan over other forms of funding?
Allows you to keep equity
A Start Up Loan is allows you to keep 100% equity in your business – there’s no signing anything over to an investor for a percentage. It’s difficult to put a value to early-stage businesses, and not being shackled to stakeholder demands gives your business the flexibility it needs to adapt and grow.
Fixed interest rate
The interest rate is comparatively low – 6.17% APR, fixed, so it won’t fluctuate over time, and you can plan your financials without worrying that you’ll be hit by unexpected interest. Just so you know we’re not-for-profit too.
Co-founders can both apply
Start Up Loans are personal loans, and means more than one co-founder can apply for the maximum amount – so if your business needed £50,000, it’s a possibility that you and your co-founder could apply for £25,000 each.
You get your own personal mentor
Our mentoring programme (all funded businesses have the opportunity to be matched with an experienced mentor who commits at least 15 hours of face-to-face mentoring over 12 months) provides vital support to startups. Working within the Virgin groups, we are also able to provide exciting opportunities as and when they arise, such as the chance for a mentoring session with Richard Branson, or a trip to Necker Island as part of a social entrepreneurship summit.
It validates your business idea
Getting a Start Up Loan from Virgin StartUp proves that we think your idea is destined for success, and is a great mark of approval – not just for you to feel proud of, but also as proof for future investors and routes to funding.
The personal touch
The Virgin StartUp team is a small and close-knit one, made up of a variety of experts in different fields – but the thing that unites us is a genuine passion for helping startups, and commitment to giving them what they need. Our team of business advisors and the loan panel work with applicants to provide personalised support, and the best chance of success.
How it’s helped previous startups
Gemma Lewis, Eat Dark Matters
The Start Up Loan allowed us to take steps we hadn’t been able to up until then. We were able to book large (and costly) summer events, buy more much-needed kitchen equipment, and – crucially - I could learn to drive, and then buy our first Brownie Mobile in order to take us to events!
While I hadn’t really thought beyond the money when I registered at first, the support that I received made a huge difference too. From paying for our pitch at Jamie Oliver’s Big Feastival, inviting us to Virgin HQ to flog our brownies to their staff, having us cater their events and featuring us numerous times on their blog, they’ve continued to go above and beyond for us.
Robert & Abigail Blake, The Winchester Gate
When we first contacted Virgin StartUp we were struggling to find the final amount of investment we required to purchase the existing business. The team at VSU were instrumental in supporting us complete our business plan and cashflow spreadsheets, offering us advice and support at every stage.
Having a healthy starting budget has allowed us to renovate the music venue, expanding the capacity and replacing the sound equipment. This has enabled us to book larger national and international touring artists, which has in turn increased our footfall two-fold.
Jamie Schachar, GT Rush
I had spent hours sat next to my customers chatting away on over a hundred rides, absorbing feedback, making countless changes and adjustments to the original business plan and model, and receiving an increasing number of excellent reviews on Tripadvisor - I knew I was on the right track. Now I needed to really get the word out and grow direct sales. Professionalising and expanding our marketing efforts via social engagement and digital advertising was going to require investment, inspiration and support. Virgin StartUp provided all of that under one convenient roof.
With our Start Up Loan we engaged the help of a digital marketing agency. They took over the management of our paid search account and have significantly increased interaction rates and reduced cost per click. Through the use of recordings and surveys on our site, they also identified potential bottlenecks and quick-win improvement opportunities which we are in the process of implementing. With an upgraded website and increasing direct conversions via paid search, we will look to develop a targeted social media advertising strategy, including YouTube.
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