Make your business idea a reality

Join over 5,000 other founders accessing more than £70m in founder-friendly funding and one-to-one mentoring. Apply today.

How much can I borrow?

Borrow up to £25,000 at a fixed interest rate of 6% per annum. Repay over 1-5 years. Repay early with no additional fee.

loan amount:



* Illustrative purposes only. Actual amounts may vary upon application.

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Why Virgin StartUp?

Virgin StartUp has been appointed as a National Business Support Partner of the British Business Bank’s Start Up Loans scheme and is part of a network of Business Support Partners across the UK.

Virgin StartUp help founders start and scale the businesses they're passionate about. From hairdressers and tradespeople to food and drinks brands to tech startups, we know what it takes to startup and thrive, and are with you each step of the way.

Startup funding on your terms

A fixed interest rate of 6% for the duration of your Loan, with no early repayment penalties. 

Join our founder community

Thousands of founders in the UK have started-up with us

Free help with your application

Apply online with the help of a Business Advisor

Fairer funding for all

We're dedicated to funding men and woman founders equally

5,000  Funded founders
£70m Provided inLoan funding
Virgin StartUp was the best decision I ever made as a founder. It's not just about funding, it's about joining the Virgin family who have such a strong, entrepreneurial brand.
Change Please founder, Cemal, with Richard Branson
Cemal Ezel, Founder, Change Please
My Virgin StartUp mentor has added so much value to Crown Connective. Without the mentorship programme, I don't know where the business would be without it really.
Founder Nicky received a Start Up Loan from Virgin StartUp
Nicky Bentley, Founder, Crown Collective
Virgin StartUp are a brand that truly cares about their customers and provides them with the tools to win! Virgin StartUp to sum up in one word is ‘community’.
Carole Lathbridge, Founder, Tiwani Heritage
Carol Lathbridge, Founder, Tiwani Heritage
It’s been amazingly supportive, not just financially but also other forms of guidance such as branding and marketing calls with expert advisors on how to stand out from the crowd.
Leanne Coop
Leanne Coop, Founder, The Tiny House Company

Frequently Asked Questions

Am I eligible?


Yes, if you’re over 18 years old, have the right to work in the UK for the duration of the loan (typically 1 - 5 years). Your business will need to be based in the UK and have been trading for less than 3 years.  

We help fund all sorts of businesses, from food and drinks brands, to hairdressers, tradespeople right through to fashion, tech and hardware businesses – and everything in between!  

As the funding is an unsecured personal loan for business purposes (more on that below) we do look at personal affordability, credit worthiness and business viability of each application. Every application and business is different, so if we feel you won’t be suitable for the funding and to save you time, we’ll be straight up and let you know as soon as we discover it. You will be asked for some information to ensure your business type is eligible to apply when you start the application process.    

So, most business types are eligible to apply. However, we are not able to support the following: 

  • Weapons 
  • Chemical manufacture 
  • Pornography 
  • Drugs 
  • Illegal activities 
  • Banking and money transfer services 
  • Private investigators that do not hold the appropriate licence 
  • Gambling and betting activities 
  • Property investment or residential property purchase 
  • Agents for third parties, where a third party earns the majority of the revenue or you would only be earning a commission (not to be confused with franchise businesses which are eligible under the scheme) 
  • Structural property costs 
  • FCA regulated 
  • Non-UK based businesses 
  • Businesses trading for over 3 years 
  • Requests for funding to pay for debt repayments, investment opportunities, vocational training or qualifications 

Please note, other exclusions may apply and Virgin StartUp reserves the right to update this list at its discretion. 

How much can I borrow and what are the terms?


You can borrow anything from £500 to £25,000 per founder (up to £100,000 per business), and pay it back within five years, at a fixed annual interest rate of 6%. There’s no early repayment fees or set up charges. The actual funding for your Start Up Loan comes in the form of an unsecured personal loan for business purposes, via the Government backed Start Up Loans Scheme, which is administered by the British Business Bank.

In case you don’t know what an unsecured loan is. It is also known as a personal loan and is issued and supported by your credit history rather than being guaranteed by any type of asset or guarantor. When you take out an unsecured loan the lender has no claim on your financial assets if you don’t keep up repayments. However, failure to meet the agreed repayments may result in formal action being taken, including but not limited to, an application to issue a County Court Judgement (CCJ) or your loan being passed to a Debt Collection Agency. In short, it would likely impact your individual credit file.  

How long will it take to receive my loan?


As you can imagine, every founder and business idea are unique in their own way, We get applications from founders at various stages of their start up journey, which is great! From idea stage right through to trading for close to 3 years. Our team will work at your pace. For example, many applications take 3-4 weeks, whereas some may take a lot longer, it just depends. 

It is really important that we fund businesses and founders at the right stage with the right amount of funding. We’ll work with you to get you to that stage if you are eligible and be as clear as we can on timelines.  

Keep in mind, it is reliant on your engagement with the process and how proactive you are throughout. We want to help fund businesses where we can, but also work with you so that you have a clear plan for the next 12 months, to make the most of the funding and post-funding support we provide. It’s not just about the funding, we try to provide lots of other support too, to help set you up to succeed.  

What happens after I fill in the application form on this page?


Once you fill in the initial application form on this page and hit 'Start', you’ll be taken through to the Start Up Loans website, where you will be asked a few initial questions to set up your Start Up Loan account and check eligibility. At this point a credit check will be run. 

Once you've set up your account with Start Up Loans and a credit check has been run, we’ll contact you within 2 working days to say hello, answer any questions you may have and confirm a couple of things to help us figure out the best next steps for you. If you’ve got a draft business plan, feel free to upload this so we can learn a little more about your business. Generally, you will be asked to provide a little more detail on your business in a business plan template we provide. Alongside the template we're here to help you fill it in. 

It's likely that you'll then be matched with an experienced business advisor who will help you develop your business plan a little more, a cash flow forecast and ensure you put forward the best application possible for review by the Virgin StartUp Loan Panel, who review all applications for Start Up Loan funding.  

Virgin StartUp are a Business Support Partner of the Start Up Loan Scheme, that is administered by the British Business Bank. Funding is not guaranteed and we will let you know as soon as we feel it may not be suitable for you or your business, which may be due to personal affordability, credit worthiness, business viability or eligibility concerns. A Start Up Loan is an unsecured personal loan for business purposes.  

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. Your business must be registered in the UK. 

Can I use the loan to buy a franchise?


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

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.

What happens after I receive my Loan?


A Start Up Loan from Virgin StartUp is about so much more than just the money.

If you’re funding is approved, you’re invited to join Virgin StartUp’s Funded Club newsletter, where we’ll update you about how else Virgin StartUp can support you on your founder journey and opportunities we may have.

Separately, you’ll also get access to expert post-funding support provided by the Start Up Loans Programme for Start Up Loan recipients, from Umi and Newable. They’ll provide access to mentoring and post loan support services, like quality content through value adding webinars and online support delivered through Umi’s nifty Sat Nav platform.

Do I lose my jobseekers allowance if I take a Start Up Loan?


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

My application for a Start Up Loan has been declined, can I appeal? 


Yes. The Start Up Loan Scheme is Government backed and every application for a Start Up Loan is different.

The funding from the Scheme is an unsecured personal loan for business purposes. Not everyone is suitable for the funding and we review each application on an individual basis. Should your application for a Start Up Loan be declined and you feel the wrong decision has been made, you are able to appeal the lending decision within 30 days of receiving the decline outcome notification. You can lodge your appeal directly with the Virgin StartUp Team by emailing 

By emailing the team you will initiate the appeals process, a member of the team will acknowledge receipt of your appeal and will be on hand to support you through the process. When you get in touch with us, we recommend you outline why you would like to appeal the lending decision and include any additional supporting evidence as to why you feel the decision should be overturned. 

A second independent review by the Virgin StartUp team may be carried out, taking into consideration the original application and any new information you provide. You will be informed of the outcome of your appeal via email. 

Please note, if your appeal is unsuccessful you can reapply for a Start Up Loan 6 months after the initial lending decision. This will give you time to work on your idea further, by perhaps improving the viability of your business proposition or addressing any personal affordability concerns that were raised. 

What's the relationship between Start Up Loans, the British Business Bank and Start Up Loans?


The Start Up Loans Company are part of the British Business Bank and they are set up to deliver the Government’s Start Up Loans Programme.

The Start Up Loans Company work with partners to deliver the funding to start-ups (you!), and Virgin StartUp are one of those partners. Since the scheme is administered by the Start Up Loans Company, the application is hosted online, on their website. Whilst it is their application process and their funding, you will deal directly with Virgin StartUp, our team, our Business Advisors and our Mentors.

We are here to try and help you succeed in getting your funding and will help at every stage of your Start Up Loan journey. If we don’t feel you are eligible or suitable for the funding, we will let you know as soon as we can.  

We also work with a Finance Provider, GC Business Finance (GCBF) and they administer the Start Up Loan. So expect to be contacted by them if you are approved for funding. 

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Start Up Loans Application Form

  • check_circleA Start Up Loan is a personal loan for business purposes for a term of 1 to 5 years at a fixed rate of 6% per annum;
  • check_circleBorrow between £500 and £25,000 per co-founder;
  • check_circleThere is no fee or costs involved in applying;
  • check_circlePlease note that that a credit check will be carried out as part of your application;
  • check_circleYour business must have been trading for less than 36 months;
  • check_circleStart Up Loans are only available to UK residents over the age of 18 and your business must be registered in the UK.

Start your application