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Business Enterprise Support (BES) is a non-profit organisation that aims to help people, of all backgrounds, to become self-employed. BES has been operating since 1983 and now has bases in Burton on Trent and Stoke on Trent and offers support to people across the Midlands. BES offers support in the form of help applying for loans, as well as one-to-one business coaching from real business mentors. Virgin Start-Up is delivered by BES. Entrepreneurs looking for funding can apply for loans from £500 - £25,000 to finance their new business.

Eligible applicants receive help and support to develop their business plans and once they have been awarded their loan, they are provided with a mentor directly from Virgin for the following 12 months. People can find out more details about the Virgin StartUp scheme by heading online to or by calling 08456 787826 The Start & Grow programme has helped create 279 new businesses across the country and 510 new jobs in just the past 12 months.

This has resulted in more than £3.7 million worth of investment in new businesses. Some of the firms already assisted thanks to Start & Grow include seaweed growers, fitness ventures and even an online spirits retailer. Now people in Stoke-on-Trent, Coventry, Tamworth, Telford & Wrekin, Walsall, Wolverhampton, Birmingham, Worcester and Cannock have got the chance to join the growing list of success stories that have stemmed from the programme, which is delivered by Burton-based Business Enterprise Support (BES). The programme will provide support and assistance in all of the elements required to start up a successful enterprise tailored to the individual needs of the business owner and the business concept. This will include information sessions, a bespoke assessment process, one-to-one advice, guidance and mentoring, an intensive investment readiness training phase, followed up by access to finance support and early stage growth aspiration building.

There is a small joining and administration fee for entrance onto the Start & Grow programme of £100 (+VAT). However, this fee is waived if people looking to join the scheme also take out a start-up loan, including a Virgin Start-Up loan.

The programme is funded through the Regional Growth Funds, delivered by the partners in Cavendish Enterprise (the trading name of Cavendish Consortium Ltd), within the local authority areas across England identified as those areas requiring additional investment in economic growth. Find out all you need to know about BES by heading online to

In closing

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