Here at Sibbalds, we are big believers in the importance of grants and start-up loans for entrepreneurs and new businesses, who may be struggling to get funding from the more traditional avenues. Recent weeks have seen us blog about the success of Derbyshire Enterprise Growth Fund, and we today turn our attention to the Virgin Start-up Scheme – a not-for-profit Virgin company created with entrepreneurs in mind.
The UK government launched the StartUp Loan Company in 2012 and Virgin Start-up is one of a network of delivery partners across England. Unlike traditional routes of funding, Virgin StartUp stands out from the crowd due to the additional support you receive alongside the traditional financial backing. Virgin have promised to help entrepreneurs aged 18 and over in England with the funding, resources and advice they’ll need to make their business idea a reality – with business advisors on hand to help you with your business plan, application for funding, marketing plans and financial projections.
One aspect of the scheme we were particularly impressed with takes place after you have secured your loan. Virgin will continue to provide support to you, in the form of training, master classes, workshops and peer-to-peer networking. They have also developed a strong mentoring platform which matches you up to an experienced business mentor, both in the short and long term of your business plan. We feel this is where the real value of a Virgin StartUp Loan lies, and the after support you receive to help your business once you receive your funding, appears to be extremely impressive.
Virgin StartUp is currently available across England, and Virgin have recognised the need to give entrepreneurs help on the ground from experts who are familiar with the area they live in as well as the common challenges they face. Therefore, they have teamed up with Cavendish Consortium – a network of the largest enterprise agencies across England – in order to offer a base, local to your own surrounding area. The nearest centre to Derby is based in Nottingham, which is quite handy for any local entrepreneurs wishing to apply, and all you need to do to get started is take a quick eligibility test to make sure you fit the criteria required, which can be completed online by visiting this page http://www.virginstartup.org/want-to-start-up/are-you-eligible/.
For those wishing to find out more about the Virgin Start-up Scheme, you can visit their website by clicking here.