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Virgin Trains to stage business clinic to boost flagging entrepreneurial ‘get up and go’

Press Release   •   Oct 18, 2016 00:01 BST

Virgin Trains to stage business clinic to boost flagging entrepreneurial ‘get up and go’
  • Levi Roots, Maria Hatzistefanis and Jamal Edwards MBE to lead exclusive workshops as research reveals desire for own business is not matched by confidence or knowledge
  • Brits fear failure, debt and insecurity, and lack support and advice on going it alone
  • But some entrepreneurial spirit lives on as many would take pay cut to pursue their dream

A new study by Virgin Trains has found that nearly half of Brits have considered starting their own business but cite fear of failure (23 per cent), lack of funds (48 per cent), support and advice (10 per cent) as barriers to giving it a go.

Anticipated anxieties once a new business is up and running include debt (39 per cent), failure (20 per cent) and not having a guaranteed monthly income (24 per cent). All were high on the list of start-up concerns, with men more concerned than women about debt (41 per cent versus 36 per cent), women marginally more worried about failure (21 per cent versus 19 per cent), and both genders equally anxious about an insecure income (24 per cent).

Despite all this and an uncertain economic outlook, 47 per cent of men and 37 per cent of women say they are more likely post-Brexit to start a business, with Yorkshire (53 per cent) second to London (56 per cent) in keeping the entrepreneurial spirit alive. What’s more 68 per cent of adults say they would be willing to tighten their bootstraps and live on less to become their own boss (74 per cent men and 62 per cent women).

To tackle these worries, Virgin Trains has enlisted three renowned business gurus to nurture and boost Britain’s entrepreneurial spirit. Levi Roots (founder, Reggae Reggae Sauce), Maria Hatzistefanis (founder, luxury skincare brand, Rodial) and Jamal Edwards MBE (founder, online music platform, SBTV) will come together to provide advice and coaching on topics including starting a business, building and growing your brand, and managing success.

With 60 per cent of Brits finding it easier to work on a train than plane, bus or car, the one-off, onboard Business Clinic will take place on the rail operator’s east coast route during a journey from King’s Cross to Edinburgh Waverley. The route is benefiting from 42 additional trains every week, providing 22 thousand additional seats, as part of Virgin Trains’ £140m east coast investment programme.

Commenting on the Business Clinic, Levi Roots said: “Having established my own business, I understand the barriers that people face when starting from scratch. It’s hard to know where to begin and therefore having the correct support can make the difference between those who succeed and those who don’t. That’s why I’ve teamed up with Virgin Trains to host their Business Clinic, providing budding business founders with the knowledge and advice they need to succeed.”

David Horne, Managing Director, Virgin Trains on the east coast, said: “At Virgin Trains, we really value entrepreneurial spirit and want to play a role in keeping it alive. What better way to do this than by bringing together leading business people with aspiring entrepreneurs on one of our newly refurbished trains. It’s an excellent opportunity for Levi, Maria and Jamal to share their knowledge with those who have the drive but not necessarily all the tools, while they enjoy our excellent facilities for business travellers. These include free Wi-Fi, free movies, TV episodes, magazines and games via Beam, our new onboard entertainment service, and food from our recently revamped James Martin menu. We hope this experience is just the ticket for getting some great ideas off the ground.”

Virgin Trains’ Business Clinic will run on October 27. For more information on how to secure one of five exclusive places at this event, go to or follow @Virgin_trainsEC #VTBusinessClinic.

Notes to Editors

Research conducted by amongst 2000 UK adults between 26 – 29 September 2016. 

About Virgin Trains:

Stagecoach and Virgin are working in partnership to operate the East Coast and West Coast inter-city routes under the Virgin Trains brand. Together, they are on track to revolutionise rail travel across the UK.

The combined network connects some of the nation’s most iconic destinations including Glasgow, Liverpool, Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Leeds, York and London.

Virgin Trains is committed to delivering a high speed, high frequency service, offering shorter journey times, more comfortable travel and excellent customer service. Customers consistently rate Virgin Trains as one of the top long-distance rail franchise operators in the National Rail Passenger Survey (NRPS) commissioned by industry watchdog, Transport Focus.

On the East Coast route, £140m is being invested to create a more personalised travel experience. We have already invested £21m to completely revamp our existing fleet and customers can now benefit from 42 additional services (22,000 extra seats) per week between Edinburgh and London. 2018 will see the introduction of completely new Azuma trains being built in the UK by Hitachi.

The West Coast route has a proud record of challenging the status quo - from introducing tilting Pendolino trains, to a pioneering automated delay repay scheme and becoming the first franchised rail operator to offer m-Tickets for all ticket types.

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