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Levelling Upstarts is aimed at supporting SMEs across the country to digitise, upskill and improve productivity. We are encouraging any business based across the UK with less than 250 employees to apply. The programme will be delivered digitally meaning that there are no barriers with location, and you don’t need to be a Virgin Money customer to take part.

Following the overwhelming success of the launch of the Levelling Upstarts programme in 2022, we are inviting SMEs to apply to take part in this free programme to help improve business planning. The programme matches SMEs with MBA and Masters students from leading UK universities, providing tailored support and recommendations to address the productivity challenges that business owners face.

Successful applicants will complete an initial diagnostic tool designed by Virgin Money to provide them with an extensive report setting out their key strengths and the challenges.

They are then matched with MBA and master's students who review these findings and provide tailored recommendations to overcome challenges and identify opportunities through digital workshops between February and June 2023.

Our goal is for the programme to provide invaluable insights from the business leaders of tomorrow to the business leaders of today.

We are keen to have a diverse range of SME applicants for 2022’s Levelling Upstarts Programme and are excited to open up applications to any SME – whether you are a Virgin Money customer or not.

Application process

The Application process is now open with the first set of digital workshops commencing in February 2023 and will be running until June 2023.

If you are an SME and interested in applying for the Virgin Money Levelling Upstarts Programme please send an email to and we’ll contact you directly on next steps.

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