New funding has been announced from the Greater London Authority (GLA) and the Virgin Group.

The funding will support the not-for-profit organisation – Virgin StartUp – to run its Ready Steady Grow programme which is aimed at supporting London-based founders.

Virgin StartUp distributes government-backed Start Up Loans ranging from £500 – £25,000 to entrepreneurs launching or growing a business that’s under two years old in England or Scotland.

The funding is valued at £1.7m over three years, half of this will be funded by the Virgin Group with the GLA funds matching the contribution. The extension is distributed by the GLA from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

The Ready Steady Grow programme has been running since 2017 to support the capital’s entrepreneurs as they start, fund, and scale their businesses.

It has supported more than 400 London-based founders to date, and attendees have subsequently received £4.2m in investment for their companies and created 57 full time jobs.

Today’s funding secures the programme’s future until 31 March 2023.

The programme is delivered entirely in London and some of the outreach activities take place in partnership with Local Authorities.

Ayo Dada, ERDF Project Manager at Virgin StartUp said:“Entrepreneurs and small businesses will be critically important for the UK’s economic recovery in the second half of this year and beyond. It is imperative that they receive the guidance and funds they need to strengthen their competitive edge.

“The Greater London area is a virtual treasure trove of ingenuity and innovation, if we can ensure we are reaching and supporting the entrepreneurially underrepresented in our communities. With this funding extension we can continue to be a valuable resource for so many of the founders in our capital, leaving nobody behind in the process.”

Olu Omosini, Programme Manager at the Greater London Authority added: “Virgin StartUp through ‘Ready, Steady, Grow’ project has been a key partner in engaging London’s Small businesses to help drive growth in the Capital. The additional ERDF funding from the GLA will enable Virgin StartUp reach out to more potential entrepreneurs, and assist London Businesses to recover from lockdown, thrive and create jobs.”

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