It takes a village to raise a business

The team from Virgin StartUp
Virgin StartUp
Natalie Clarkson
by Natalie Clarkson
3 August 2022

Starting a business is no mean feat. In fact, according to new Virgin StartUp research, finding your tribe to cheer you on is key to success, with the average entrepreneur considering quitting 15 times while setting up a new business.  

Virgin StartUp found that nine in 10 entrepreneurs who founded their business in the last five years have someone they can rely on to support them – with 86% of founders turning to friends and family for emotional support. 

Virgin StartUp
Virgin StartUp

Three-quarters of new business owners have made use of a mentor recently – whether that’s a professional mentor or simply getting advice from friends or family. Interestingly, founders under the age of 34 were more likely to use a business mentor than those aged 55 and over. And 20% of founders said that having a mentor was the one thing that helped them the most on their start-up journey. 

Social media has also been a source of support and advice for new business owners, with a quarter saying that they have learnt from the stories that others have shared on YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter and Tik Tok. 

Virgin StartUp
Virgin StartUp

Virgin StartUp offers a range of support for anyone taking a Start Up Loan from the organisation – including setting founders up with a business mentor. One of Virgin StartUp’s latest mentors is Montana Brown, a former Love Island contestant and now a successful business owner and founder of sustainable swimwear brand Swim Society.  

She said: “Setting up a business, particularly a sustainable one, has been a big learning curve and I am really enjoying being a Virgin StartUp mentor and passing on some of the lessons that I’ve learnt to new founders. Virgin StartUp is also committed to funding the same number of male and female founders through its 50/50 pledge which is something that is really important to me.” 

Virgin StartUp also spoke to 1,000 people who want to start their own businesses but haven’t taken the plunge yet – and a shocking 40% said they weren’t planning to turn to anyone for business advice. 

Virgin StartUp managing director Andy Fishburn said: “Entrepreneurs are missing a trick if they don’t reach out and tap into business support networks. Lots of business owners start their journey as solo founders working from home, but that doesn’t mean they need to do it on their own.  

“Having a business mentor can be invaluable and while feedback from family and friends or videos online can be really helpful, there is no substitute for the advice of an experienced businessperson who can give honest feedback, talk through your pain points and suggest practical ways to solve any problems you might face.” 

Want to start your own business? Visit Virgin StartUp for Start Up Loans, advice, support, mentoring and so much more. 

And if you’d like to see some of the businesses Virgin StartUp has already supported – check out the Virgin StartUp collection on Virgin Red and treat yourself to something from a small business with your Virgin Points.