Virgin StartUp announces more funding for UK business founders

Virgin StartUp
Virgin StartUp
Natalie Clarkson
by Natalie Clarkson
21 June 2023

Virgin StartUp, the non-profit home of entrepreneurship at the Virgin Group, will be tripling the number of UK founders it supports over the next two years, distributing £36 million in Start Up Loans.

Founded by Richard Branson in 2013, Virgin StartUp has been a Business Support Partner of the British Business Bank’s Start Up Loan scheme for 10 years. In that time it has distributed £70 million in funding to 5,000 UK business founders, and since 2019, it has pledged to equally support women and men founders with its 50/50 pledge.

This expansion means that Virgin StartUp will support an estimated 3,000 early-stage founders over the next two years, helping thousands of new business owners from across the UK who often struggle to secure finance from traditional lenders.

Over the last 10 years, Virgin StartUp has funded some of the fastest growing start-ups in the UK, including DASH Water, Castore, NICE Drinks and Mous – an award-winning, global tech accessories company that designs and manufactures protective tech accessories.

Mous secured a £7,000 Start Up Loan through Virgin StartUp in 2014, which gave the brand the kickstart it needed. Mous now has 1.8 mililon customers in more than 150 countries worldwide and is valued at £65 million. It has also been recognised by BrewDog founder James Watt as part of his search for the next billion-pound unicorn business in a Crowdcube crowdfunding campaign.

James Griffith, CEO and co-founder of Mous, said: “We attended a workshop run by Virgin StartUp and quit our jobs right away. We didn't waste any time putting that Start Up Loan to good use and used the funds to buy a 3D printer. We also moved to China to become masters in manufacturing. It was a bold move, but it turned out to be the best decision we ever made.”  

Andy Fishburn, Managing Director at Virgin StartUp, added: “There is nothing more inspiring than listening to the ideas of new business founders who want to have a positive impact in the world. In the past 10 years, we’ve had the pleasure of supporting 5,000 founders with a Start Up Loan and we can’t think of a better way to celebrate this milestone than to announce that we will be funding many thousands more over the next few years. 

“The Start Up Loan scheme makes starting a business a reality for many more would-be founders. We are proud to be part of their journey and we can’t wait to meet and support the next generation of entrepreneurs.”

Business founders in the UK are eligible to apply for a StartUp Loan between £500 and £25,000 at a fixed interest rate of 6% with no early repayment penalties. Virgin StartUp also offers founders business advice, mentoring and access to further training, scale-up programmes, and Virgin StartUp’s community of likeminded founders.

Visit Virgin StartUp to find out more.