New research reveals challenges faced by entrepreneurs

The team from Virgin StartUp
Virgin StartUp
Natalie Clarkson
by Natalie Clarkson
7 July 2021

More than three-quarters of new UK entrepreneurs say that they needed more support when they started out than they thought they would, according to new research from Virgin Money and Virgin StartUp.

Fortunately, Virgin Money has joined forces with Virgin StartUp to help more entrepreneurs access the support that they need. Virgin StartUp is a not-for-profit organisation launched by Virgin to support business founders in the UK with expert guidance, funding and mentorship. Virgin Money and Virgin StartUp are pooling their joint expertise to help businesses to start up and grow.

The research reveals that access to funding, establishing their brand, finding their audience, and staying open during the pandemic have all been front of mind for entrepreneurs, whether they are established business owners or someone who is thinking about starting their own business. 

UK entrepreneurs are optimistic – nearly three-quarters say they feel more confident about the future. This confidence is being driven by the economy bouncing back, customers’ willingness to spend again, and more demand for what their business offers. However, would-be entrepreneurs are a bit more cautious, with almost a third planning to wait more than a year before launching their business.

The support from Virgin Money and Virgin StartUp couldn’t come at a better time, Companies House data shows that 810,316 companies were incorporated between March 2020 and March 2021 – that’s 21.8% more than in the previous 12 months and the highest number of incorporations in a 12 month period on record.

Chair of Virgin StartUp, Linda Grant with the Managing Director, Andy Fishburn
Virgin StartUp

Linda Grant, chair of Virgin StartUp, said: “We know that the right support is vital for new businesses in those early days, yet many people underestimate how much help they will need. And there is also a pool of would‐be entrepreneurs whose concerns may be holding them back from taking that next step and setting up – establishing their brand, finding their audience and access to funding are all areas they feel they need help with.  

“At Virgin StartUp we understand the road to starting a business isn’t all plain sailing, and have a wealth of knowledge of experience in helping founders make their ideas a reality – it’s something we’ve been doing at Virgin for 50 years. By working alongside Virgin Money, we can offer this support to even more people who want to start up and scale.”

Gavin Opperman, group business director at Virgin Money, added: “The pandemic has provided an opportunity for many people to take their passion and turn it into a full‐time business, and we’re seeing more people starting out on the road to launch their business.  

“That’s why we’ve joined forces with Virgin StartUp to offer the right support and guidance in key areas to help make people’s entrepreneurial dreams a reality. We are committed to working with business founders to ensure they not only survive but thrive, and we’re excited to see the difference we can make together.”

All Virgin Money business customers can now access the expertise of Virgin StartUp. This includes free events to help founders with specialist topics, free digital resources to tackle knowledge gaps, and discounted Masterclasses from business leaders.

They will be announcing a lot of exciting opportunities with Virgin StartUp in the near future, so make sure to follow Virgin Money on Twitter to find out more.