Get a taste of Sir Richard’s diary as he supports young entrepreneurs to set up in business
Being one of the world’s most successful and well-known faces, Sir Richard Branson’s diary is busier and more varied than most. And people all over the world wonder how he spends his time.
At Virgin Money, we recently got a glimpse into Sir Richard’s hectic schedule as he popped into our Newcastle office to give his personal support to some of the young entrepreneurs of the future.
Starting the day with Start-Up Loans
Kicking off his day, Sir Richard had breakfast with a group of young business minds as they embark on their various commercial ventures.
Everyone at the breakfast was there to celebrate some of the first Start-Up Loans being awarded to entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 30. The new North East funding scheme, part of the national Start-Up Loans initiative, was launched in November 2012.
Through the scheme, The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is providing £1 million for start-up loans to small businesses in the North East and Cumbria. Virgin Money is supporting the scheme and is part of a consortium including Virgin Unite, The Northern Rock Foundation andProject North East.
The initiative is Sir Richard’s latest addition to his ongoing campaign to encourage entrepreneurship, which led to the creation of the Virgin Media Pioneers scheme and the Branson Centres of Entrepreneurship in the Caribbean and South Africa.
Sir Richard spent time with those running each of the businesses and also sampled goods such as organic flavoured teas from Choclateas, even autographing practical and fun childrenswear from Baggers Originals. But the highlight of the event for Sir Richard was the opportunity to present loan cheques to some of the newest additions to Start-Up Loans’ portfolio. He said:
If you are in a position to make a difference, you shouldn’t waste that chance. More than anything, I want to make Virgin a force for good.
Meeting Sir Richard
Luke Statter and Sam Driver of Teesside-based film production company Thousand Yard Films said that although their time with Sir Richard was brief, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Sam said: “It is great that he turns up to these things as he’s one of the most successful men ever.”
Luke added: “We knew he kept strong ties to the Virgin businesses, but to actually meet him has been amazing.”
Dean Francis created The Scented Jam Jar Company with his loan and said: “It has been really useful to spend time with Sir Richard today. It is inspirational to hear first hand that he didn’t have much money when he started out.
“We can see he started from nothing and it shows there is no reason why I can’t one day be where he is today.”
And Conor Lowson, one of the talents behind Overcoming Theatre, a Newcastle-based educational theatre company, said the day had been surreal but motivating: “Richard Branson is such a prestigious businessman, and he said he could recognise in those he has met today some of the qualities and skills that have got him where he is.”
About Startup loans
About Startup loans
- Loan sizes are between £250 and £25,000
- It is expected the average loan will be around £5,000
- Project North East is responsible for arranging and making the loans
- The Start-Up Loans consortium also intends to deliver business training and mentoring to successful applicants
After spending time with Virgin Money’s staff and customers, Sir Richard visited London to welcome Laura Robson as Virgin Active’s first Tennis Ambassador, then jetted to South Africa to take part in an event for Virgin Unite, Virgin Group’s not-for-profit foundation. To see some of the highlights of the rest of his day, take a look at this video on his blog.