What does an entrepreneur look like?

The founders of Fertility Circle laughing in conversation
Fertility Circle
Natalie Clarkson
by Natalie Clarkson
7 September 2021

Entrepreneurs come in all shapes and sizes. Since 2013, Virgin StartUp has helped more than 4,000 people to start businesses, giving out over £54 million of loans to help new entrepreneurs get their ideas off the ground.

Here are just a few of the people that they have helped…

Jasmin Thomas

Jasmin Thomas speaking at an event
Ohana

Jasmin was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), which inspired her to launch Ohana, a CBD-infused skincare brand. She took a Start Up Loan from Virgin StartUp to launch her business and has never looked back. As part of the Virgin StartUp This Is What A Founder Looks Like series, we caught up with Jasmin to find out more about her unique experiences as an entrepreneur. Read more.

Loral and Eishel Quinn

 Loral and Eishel, founders of the Sustainably app
Image from Loral Quinn

According to the Institute for Family Business, the UK has 4.8 million family businesses (88% of all businesses in the UK). They really are the backbone of the UK’s economy.

Loral and Eishel Quinn are a mother-daughter team who co-founded Sustainably after receiving support from Virgin StartUp in 2017 and were named Richard Branson’s Start-Up of The Year in 2019. Read more.

Charlotte Brett and Prince Banin-Plockey

Rooted Interiors
Rooted Interiors

At the beginning of 2020, Charlotte Brett was happily employed at an interior design firm. However, when the coronavirus pandemic hit, she was made redundant and decided to start her own interior design business.

With the help of a Start Up Loan from Virgin StartUp, Charlotte  launched Rooted Interiors, together with her partner Prince Banin-Plockey. Eight months into her entrepreneurial journey we caught up with her to learn more about her entrepreneurial adventures. Read more.

Fleur Colville

Mix & Rise
Mix & Rise

Some people have always dreamed of working for themselves and running their own business. One such person is Fleur Colville, who worked for several start-ups before launching Mix & Rise with her co-founder Dani. They took a Start Up Loan from Virgin StartUp to help them launch the business and catapult to success. We caught up with Fleur to find out more about her start-up story.… Read more.

Chris Holmes

Chris Holmes
Chris Holmes

You might not expect someone who once sat on the board at KFC to start a social enterprise looking to tackle the youth obesity problem. But that’s exactly what Chris Holmes has done.

Chris took a Start Up Loan from Virgin StartUp to help fund SMASH, the app that gives young people discounts on healthier food options. We caught up with him to find out more. Read more.

Dhruvin Patel

Dhruvin Patel
Ocushield

For Dhruvin Patel, starting a business was always his goal. So when he came across an innovative idea while training to become an optometrist, he knew he had to give it a go. Using his knowledge of optometry, Dhruvin created a range of blue light shields for devices and glasses and founded Ocushield, taking a Start Up Loan from Virgin StartUp to help get the business off the ground. We caught up with him to find out more… Read more.

Eleanor Howie

Eleanor Howie, founder of Valiant Lingerie
Karen Fuller | Fuller Photography

After having a preventative mastectomy in her twenties, Eleanor Howie found it difficult to find suitable underwear that she loved. She didn’t want other young women to go through the same experience, so she created a line of beautiful, functional lingerie for women who had been through the same surgery. She received a Start Up Loan from Virgin StartUp, and turned the line into a whole company – Valiant Lingerie. We caught up with Eleanor to find out more about her experience of starting a business… Read more.

Tom Youngs

Tom Youngs and his co-founder Claudia
Vyable Beauty

When Tom Youngs spent seven years training as a dentist, he never thought he’d end up running a start-up. But, after deciding dentistry wasn’t for him, Tom moved into the tech sector and is now the co-founder of Vyable Beauty, a business launched with support from Virgin StartUp. We caught up with Tom to find out more… Read more.

Jamal Ayton-Brown and Jamal Ramsay

Jamal Ayton-Brown (left) and Jamal Ramsay (right)
BOXD Health

Running a successful business relies on filling a need that people have. Many founders do this by solving a problem from their personal lives. But Jamal Ayton-Brown and Jamal Ramsay are proving with BOXD Health that if you spot a gap in the market and spend a lot of time researching and talking to your potential customers, it is possible to start a business aimed at a completely different demographic to yourself. Read more.

Abi Hannah

The founders of Fertility Circle laughing in conversation
Fertility Circle

Fertility Circle was founded by three women – Abi, Karen and Jo – who have been on their own fertility rollercoasters and decided to launch a first-of-its-kind online platform that offers all the information and support they longed for when we were trying to get pregnant. Abi, Karen and Jo have now turned their idea into a brilliant app. After experiencing her own fertility issues, Holly Branson spoke to Abi to find out more about her experiences launching the business. Read more.

Kyle Frank

Kyle Frank
Frank's Remedies

Inspired by his own experiences with acne, Kyle Frank set out looking for a cure. Having found a solution that worked for him, he created Frank’s Remedies and took a Start Up Loan from Virgin StartUp to help get the business started. We caught up with Kyle to find out more… Read more.

Carley Read

Carley Read, founder of Y'earn
Y'earn

Carley Read, founder of parent-to-parent marketplace Y’earn, was the 4,000th person to receive a Start Up Loan from Virgin StartUp. We caught up with her as part of our This Is What A Founder Looks Like series to find out more about her experiences as a founder. Read more.

Darius Darwell

Darius and Emily Darwell holding cans of Sipful
Sipful

Some couples could think of nothing worse than starting a business with their partner. Other couples thrive off the experience. 

Darius Darwell and his wife Emily took a Start Up Loan from Virgin StartUp to fund their premium canned cocktail business Sipful. We caught up with Darius to find out what it takes to run a business with your spouse. Read more.

Got a great business idea? Visit Virgin StartUp for advice, support and funding.