Virgin StartUp expands into Scotland

Virgin StartUp expands into Scotland

A sweet subscription service and an eco-friendly bin cleaning start-up have become the first Scottish businesses to receive funding from Richard Branson’s Virgin StartUp programme.

Virgin StartUp is a not for profit company which was set up to provide government-backed startup loans to new businesses in England.

Having allocated £15m in funding to 1,500 businesses across the country, the programme has now extended its reach to cater for Scottish businesses.

As part of its first foray into Scotland, the programme has this week provided loans to LoveSweets.com, a sweet subscription service and Bin Bath an eco-friendly bin cleaning service, totalling £50,000.

Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Group founder, said: "I’m delighted the first Virgin StartUp Scottish businesses have now received funding. Scotland has always been a place close to my heart – my wife Joan is a proud Glaswegian and my parents are from Edinburgh.

"I know Scotland is a place where new businesses can thrive, which is why I hope more follow suit and the funding, mentoring and business advice on offer through Virgin StartUp for Scottish entrepreneurs will act as a springboard for new businesses for many years to come."

Virgin StartUp aims to improve the survival rate for start-ups in Scotland. Although the figure has been steadily improving, only 42% of new businesses in Scotland make it through their first five years.

The news has been welcomed by Keith Brown MSP, the cabinet secretary for economy, jobs and fair work. He added: "The Scottish Government recognises the key role of entrepreneurial activity in delivering sustainable economic growth and we are committed to raising aspiration towards enterprise and facilitating the growth of entrepreneurial businesses.

"Virgin StartUp is a great example of this. Our vision for Scotland is of a world-leading entrepreneurial and innovative nation – a CAN DO place for business."

Virgin StartUp Scotland has already received hundreds of applications for loans from entrepreneurs across the country. By the end of the year it expects to have approved funding for businesses across the country.