I’m still shocked that for every 10 new businesses founded by men, there are currently fewer than five started by women. Virgin StartUp are already doubling the national average by financing and supporting 41 per cent women founders, and now we’ve pledged to make it 50:50.
A few people have commented that we should be focusing upon men too – and we are: Virgin StartUp are going to invest in more women, while continuing to invest in at least the same number of men. We recently funded our 3,000th business, an incredible achievement for the team after just over five years.
I wanted to highlight just one example of a women entrepreneur already thriving thanks to a Virgin StartUp loan. Amarachi Uzowuru received funding from Virgin StartUp in 2015 to set up Lucocoa Chocolate, London's first bean to bar chocolate company. Lucocoa pay their farmers much more than fair trade, and they’re on a mission to bring out the true flavours of chocolate with no refined sugars and only organic ingredients. We’re trialling the chocolate at Virgin StartUp and Virgin Management’s offices in London at the moment.
As Amarachi told the team: “In the beginning I had no clue about what to expect and starting a business can be quite scary especially if you are really trying to shake up an industry. Working with Virgin StartUp to pull the business plan together was invaluable; it was great to put milestones in place. The loan from Virgin was used to start my own chocolate factory from the second bedroom of our two-bed flat in Stoke Newington! Yep, where there’s a will there’s a way!”
There are so many brilliant ideas out there, ready to flourish with a little helping hand to get off the ground. If you’re thinking of starting a business, get in touch with the team at Virgin StartUp.