Virgin Startup Program founder Ian Mason on the two things startups need to help them scale

The founder of Virgin’s Startup Program says he can see a lot of potential in Aussie founders but he believes more support is needed locally to help startups move beyond the “small business” stage.

Ian Mason is the former head of development for the Startup Program, which was founded five years ago as a way to offer entrepreneurs from any background and with any level of experience a way to get a business off the ground. The program offers founders loans of between £500 to £25,000 ($900 to $45,500) and has issued $35 million of funding to date.

Mason says Virgin founder Richard Branson — who he describes as “humble, kind, and completely bonkers” — gave him a simple brief for the project when it started.

“Richard gave us the best brief in the world,” Mason tells StartupSmart.

“He said, ‘I want to create a program to support all entrepreneurs, off you go’. It was a lovely blank piece of paper.”

Currently, the program operates in the UK and is available to any founder with an EU passport. The program isn’t in Australia yet, but Mason is testing the waters for a potential launch through a partnership with QUT Creative Enterprise Australia (CEA) Read more

Dominic Powell – SmartCompany