Top mentoring tips from Virgin StartUp

Richard Branson on stage with two Virgin StartUp entrepreneurs for a live mentoring session
Image from Virgin Trains
Natalie Clarkson
by Natalie Clarkson
27 October 2023

Today marks National Mentoring Day, a day to acknowledge and highlight all the wonderful heroes supporting founders in the Virgin StartUp Community.

If you’re a founder, or planning to start a business, getting a mentor should be one of the top things on your to-do list if you don’t already have one.

According to Virgin StartUp research, nine in 10 entrepreneurs who founded their business in the last five years have someone they can rely on to support them – whether that’s a professional mentor or just getting advice from friends and family. But, 20% of founders say that having a mentor was the thing that helped them most on their start-up journey.

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.”

Finding a mentor

Virgin StartUp boasts a vast network of mentors, now actively contributing to the community through 1-1 mentoring sessions, workshop hosting and more. Among them is Vivien Wong, the visionary behind Little Moons, the famous mochi balls sensation that captured the world's palate. Vivien shared, "I'm deeply passionate about supporting founders in the Virgin StartUp community and witnessing their businesses transform into thriving realities."

Another passionate mentor in the Virgin StartUp family is Katie, an ex-L'Oréal Brand Director, who revealed, "I find the founders in the Virgin StartUp Community incredibly inspiring, and their boundless energy is truly infectious!"

For everyone who receives a Start Up Loan from Virgin StartUp, there’s loads of support available – including being matched with a mentor for six months to help you on your start-up journey.

Richard Branson with Virgin StartUp founders in Edinburgh
Virgin StartUp

Richard Branson has highlighted the benefits of finding a good mentor. He said: “When you’re starting out as an entrepreneur it’s so valuable to find someone who has more experience than you and can help guide you on your business journey. This is where mentors come in.

“When I began my business journey, I would simply ring people up who had done what I was trying to do and ask them for advice. When I was launching Virgin Atlantic, I turned to Sir Freddie Laker who shared his experiences with his own airline to advise me on how to set up the company. His advice was invaluable, and he quickly became a trusted friend.”

Visit Virgin StartUp for advice and support on starting and growing a business.