Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson will be heading to Tyneside next month to launch a new scheme which aims to support fledgling business.
Sir Richard will be in Newcastle on March 3 to highlight the work of Virgin StartUp, which aims to find the most promising new businesses in the UK and give them each 30-minute mentoring sessions with the business mogul.
To highlight the event, Virgin yesterday released research which suggests that more than a quarter of people in the North East (26%) say they have thought of a great idea for a business, but over half (55%) say a lack of funding stops them making their idea become a reality.
Virgin StartUp - a not-for-profit company that has awarded £3.4m in start-up loans to 417 businesses - aims to help people looking to break into the world of business.
Sir Richard 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.”
On March 3, Sir Richard will be at Newcastle’s Northern Stage to launch the #mentormebranson competition. Jimmy Cregan, the founder of Jimmy’s Iced Coffee brand, will also be at the event.
In the North East, Virgin StartUp is working with TEDCO Business Support to help develop new businesses.
Among those helped so far are Jenny Scott and Corrie Thomas, from Newcastle, who set up a catering firm called Seasons Plenty.
Jenny said: “The support I received from Virgin StartUp and TEDCO Business Support was invaluable, it really helped us to get our business off the ground, turning what could have been a pipe dream into a reality.
“Launching a business doesn’t happen overnight but the transition from a great idea to a successful business can happen if you have the right funding, mentoring and advice in place.”
To find out more about the work of Virgin StartUp and to enter the competition, people can visit virginstartup.org.