Inspiring and Empowering Entrepreneurs
Starting a business is about more than just making money; many of the benefits of starting up are actually independent of whether or not the business is commercially successful. Entrepreneurs learn many new skills that can help enhance their employability. Starting a business can help a person build their confidence, offer a sense of achievement and raise self-esteem.
Business, whether for profit or not, can also drive positive change. So starting a business can allow an entrepreneur to make a difference in areas they care about the most - and to do so without having to fundraise and organise volunteers.
Above all, entrepreneurship is the most effective mechanism for enhancing both absolute and relative social mobility, which is critical to providing greater pathways to equality in society.
Of course starting a business is not easy. It's not something that is taught in schools and while the internet is overloaded with advice and guidance aimed at those wishing to start a business, it can be hard to cut through the noise and find the information that is most valuable. Entrepreneurship is all about how you react to what is happening around you - the only way you can truly learn is by doing it for yourself. So a lack of money and experience of starting a business is enough to prevent many people from having a go - it makes it a daunting prospect.
Virgin Start Up is a not-for-profit organisation, founded by Sir Richard Branson, that supports entrepreneurs through the process of starting a business. They work with entrepreneurs from all backgrounds, no matter their financial circumstances, whether they have experience in business or not, to develop their idea into a fundable proposition. They then offer a start-up loan of anything between £500 and £25,000 in order to turn the idea into reality and an experienced mentor to help guide the entrepreneur through their first year in business.
Ian was appointed Head of Strategic Development for Virgin Start Up shortly after its founding and has played a key role in the development of the organisation that now supports hundreds of entrepreneurs every year.