The whole UK has a wealth of entrepreneurial talent. We're committed to supporting that talent - and now that we provide Start Up Loans and business support in Scotland as well as England, we can help startups north of the border start on their business journey too.
The first business in Scotland to have received a Start Up Loan through Virgin StartUp is Bin Bath. Founder Gillian Poskitt received £25,000 to start her business - here's how she's finding starting up in Scotland.
Tell us a bit more about your business
Bin Bath is a local family team offering an eco-friendly bin cleaning service for residential and commercial customers in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire - we banish bugs and leave the street with a fresh scent.
Our environmentally-friendly bin cleaning process involves award-winning specialist self-contained equipment (called Betsy) which recycles the water. Combined with our biodegradable, vegan, cruelty-free products, we ensure not only are your bins squeaky clean but so is our process. Not to mention our Bin Bath Bravo is our economical car, which brings Betsy to your bins – you’ll certainly notice us on the street.
What support / networking opportunities are there in Scotland?
Scotland has Business Gateway, which is a publicly funded service providing access to free business support services for Scotland. It gives impartial advice to people starting their business. In fact, I heard about Virgin StartUp through one of the Business Gateway sessions - an advisor there knew about VSU.
There are also a number of networking events and groups (both virtual and physical) across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire that enable supportive likeminded individuals the chance to connect and help each other grow their networks and commerce success. A win/ win for all when working together.
Why is Scotland a great place to start a business?
Scotland is a great place to start a business mainly because of the people – the open and honest response you get. I also have the beautiful backdrop of the idyllic countryside of Aberdeenshire as my office – what’s not to love? I'm based in Banchory, a town in Aberdeenshire.
What was the process of working with us from Scotland like?
The process was excellent. From the start the team were all friendly and supportive, and the response rate was fantastic. I was provided with all the information and guidance to go away and complete my forms, and the team stayed in touch with me to keep me updated on when I’d receive the next input.
The macro-enabled PDF and Excel really helped me focus on what you needed from me, and also helped to reaffirm what I already knew about me and my business, but nonetheless provided a good reminder that I was on the right path.
What are your plans for the future?
The loan from Virgin Start Up has been a huge help in starting my business and giving me the freedom to concentrate on making Bin Bath a success. By this I mean I can focus on my quality service for my customers without watching the bank balance every minute.
In the future I will continue to grow Bin Bath as a brand and recruit staff to assist, and once I am running at a profit I will then be able to focus on my keen desire to ensure Corporate Social Responsibility plays a big part in Bin Bath going forward. This will be initially in the local community but with a view to seeing how Bin Bath can aid those further afield in less established communities.
Maybe the CSR guru Richard Branson can offer some advice when I reach that point!
What are your top top tips for aspiring Scottish entrepreneurs?
Believe in yourself, be kind to others, and be prepared to roll your sleeves up and get on with the hard graft.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You don’t need to know everything and your best asset is to recognize your own areas for growth – others can help you if you ask.