Sir Richard Branson will today launch Virgin Startup, a StartUp Loans delivery partner which will deliver funds and mentoring to entrepreneurs aged 18 to 30.
Virgin Startup joins more than 50 other delivery partners which help facilitate loans from the government-backed Start-Up Loans Company and deliver mentoring and business advice to young entrepreneurs.
Branson said: “I started my first business with a handful of coins out of a phone-box at school, but it was the £300 from my mum that really kick-started our Student magazine and sparked the Virgin adventure 40 years ago.
“Today, young people need that same help and I believe Virgin StartUp will provide it – with access to early capital, strong mentorship, advice and promotion. We look forward to helping launch thousands of new businesses as a delivery partner of The Start-Up Loan Company across the UK in years to come.”
The new scheme builds on a pilot by Virgin Money in the North East, which has lent more than £600,000 to over 100 businesses since last October.
Sir Tom Shebbeare, chairman of Virgin StartUp said: “Our year-long pilot in the North East gives me every confidence that the entire Virgin group combining with our experienced partners will deliver a unique experience for young entrepreneurs right across Britain.”
Innocent Drinks co-founder Richard Reed, a supporter of the scheme, said: “This country is full of entrepreneurial talent; ready, willing and able to build the businesses of the future, they just need access to the funds to get started. That’s what is so great about Virgin StartUp – it will provide the cash and advice so the entrepreneurs can do their thing.”