Merry Christmas from Virgin StartUp!
We’re nearing the end of our second year in business, and the end of another year. Here’s wishing every startup (and startup-to-be) a great Christmas and New Year.
We’ve funded over 800 businesses now, giving away almost £8 million in startup loans – a huge amount of money. Behind each of those loans is an entrepreneur empowered to follow their dream, a new business giving life to the UK economy, and a new opportunity to make amazing things happen. Not being ones to rest on our laurels, we’ve done some other stuff too!
We held meetups where entrepreneurs could meet like-minded people and hear experts talk on subjects from branding to marketing, helping them learn more about starting up and giving them the confidence to take the next steps. We gave businesses the chance to find out what some of the UK’s most significant brands look for when buying through our Doing Business with Big Business events, got them selling to Virgin employees at our second Virgin StartUp Christmas Fair - and we decided to expand our offering to everyone with the announcement of Hive by Virgin StartUp, a platform of offers, exclusive content and more that aims to level the playing field between startups and big businesses.
We sampled some of the best food that UK startups have to offer at Virgin StartUp Foodpreneur Festival 2015 – and then sent the winners to Chicago to pitch to retail giants Target. We also sent startups to a global conference, to Detroit, and even to Necker Island for amazing international opportunities, giving them a chance to meet Richard face to face. Meanwhile, closer to home, three startups got the chance to be mentored by Richard on a train, whilst two lucky Manchester-based startups got to celebrate their thriving startup scene at a meet and greet with him.
All year long we’ve seen our startups go from strength to strength, succeeding in their own ways. We saw T-Sticks of London starting to export tea to Asia, Smith & Sinclair opening an edible alcohol pop-up shop on Carnaby Street, G2 Brewing making their first hires, CLUO Beauty Drink winning an innovation award on their first day of trading, or SOAK Shakes & Co. pulling off a slick rebrand and making it into Selfridges Food Hall - and much much more.
All these stories show that making it happen means something different to every business. We’re so excited to be on this journey with you all and can’t wait to see what 2016 will bring.
Have an amazing Christmas, startups. You deserve it!