Interviews

Richard Branson rallies SMEs as funding woes prevent British business idea development

2 min read

18 February 2015

Former deputy editor

Half of UK adults claim a lack of funding is preventing them from getting business ideas up and running, according to Virgin Startup.

The findings come as Virgin’s business support hub has introduced a competition for budding entrepreneurs to win a 30-minute mentoring session with founder Richard Branson.

Despite the fact 30 per cent of UK adults said they have thought of a “great idea for a business”, 50 per cent added a lack of funding prevents them from bringing their ideas to fruition.

YouTube user-cum-media entrepreneur Jamal Edwards said in January that “amazing ideas to kick-start businesses are hindered by lack of belief” – seemingly that’s the case as Virgin found that 24 per cent of Brits would be to embarrassed to share business ideas in case they’re considered stupid.

Elsewhere, 27 per cent said sharing an idea would be a waste of time because they wouldn’t follow it through, and 39 per cent said their workplace stifles them, failing to encourage the sharing of ideas beyond their usual job role.

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The company is hoping to change the attitudes and highlighted that SMEs are worth £378bn to UK plc and noted that the government-backed Start-up Loans has provided £3.4m worth of startup funds to 417 businesses. Of those companies, 32 per cent are making a profit already and 63 per cent anticipate steady growth.

Branson said: “A lack of funding shouldn’t hold brilliant entrepreneurs back. It’s concerning that people don’t feel able to get their business ideas off the ground when there’s so much support available to them.

“Launching your own business is one of the most fulfilling and rewarding things you can do. I would urge people to take the next step and speak to the Virgin StartUp team, you never know where it may lead you.”

More on the the competition to win a train journey with Branson can be found at http://www.virginstartup.org/

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