Startup lessons from a day with Sir Richard and friends

The UK is amazing place to start a business, and this is becoming more and more evident every day. We're not just talking about London - businesses in every corner of the country are doing amazing things, inventing incredible products, and generally amazing us and the public daily. It's exciting to be part of, and we love helping these businesses make their dream a reality.

We recently took a trip to Newcastle Business School for a morning of inspiration at the event Richard Branson and Friends, supported by our delivery partners TEDCO and by Virgin Money. Featuring two panels of guest speakers discussing the issues facing startups, entrepreneur life, and how Virgin StartUp can help aspiring business owners get their venture off the ground, it was an amazing day full of ideas, enthusiasm, and a packed-out venue. With students at the university queuing from 7.30 am in hope of getting a seat, it was fantastic to see the entrepreneurs of the future getting involved, as well as bringing together some of the best and brightest businesses in the North East.


Presented by Claire Oldfield of leading comms agency Wardour, the first panel, "Why start up with Virgin StartUp?" featured the following speakers:

- Sophie Chandauka, VSU mentor and Head of Asset Financing, Virgin Money

- Jo Barnet, Head of Social Enterprise at Virgin Money

- Andy Stephenson, founder of Weekend Box Club

- Jenny Scott, founder of Season's Plenty

- James Craft, business advisor at TEDCO

- Carole White, CEO of TEDCO

Discussing the benefits of starting up with Virgin, some highlights of the panel are below:

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Panel two saw Sir Richard Branson himself taking to the stage, joined by Sir Brian Souter, founder of Stagecoach, and Jim Cregan of Jimmy's Iced Coffee. The topic of this panel was "Be Inspired: how I started my business", and saw the panellists discuss their business journeys - including an anecdote from Sir Branson about how Virgin Atlantic came about when a cancelled flight led to him hiring a plane and selling seats to the others on the scheduled flight. The winners of #MentorMeBranson were also announced... but more of that later! Some highlights below:

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Thanks to all who joined us for an amazing day, and to the businesses of Newcastle for their enthusiasm and energy!