Virgin StartUp presents… Foodpreneur Fest 2014

Roll up, roll up, foodpreneurs of the nation! Do you have the wares that will tickle the tastebuds of Britain’s top foodies?

If we know one thing about Britain, it’s that we’re a nation that does food really well. The last few years have seen something of a food renaissance – and from street-food stalls to pop-up cake shops, boutique restaurants and micro-breweries, at the heart of this explosion in brilliant British food is start-ups. We’re on a mission to find the best new food businesses across the country: to celebrate the entrepreneurial foodies getting into the kitchen and creating some really exciting stuff!

And what better way to do this than a competition that will see your food judged by some of the most important people in the British food industry - including Richard Branson himself?

That’s right – we’re presenting Foodpreneur Fest 2014, presented by leading celebrity chef Michela Chiappa. It’s an amazing opportunity for business owners to showcase their most mouth-watering dishes to a panel of food experts, including:

  • Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley - authors of The Art of Eating Well, and recipe bloggers for Vogue.
  • Paul Lindley - founder of children’s food brand, Ella’s Kitchen.
  • Mina Holland - acting Editor of Guardian Cook magazine and author of The Edible Atlas.

So if you’ve ever dreamed of having your food sampled by some of the UK’s most influential foodies, it’s time to pinch yourself – and get entering!

If you don’t have your own food business there will be plenty of opportunity to get involved. Just tweet us your thoughts and photos on the hashtag #VirginFoodFest – every week there’ll be a different theme, with the best photos and tweets becoming part of a display at the big event itself. And to kick it off, this week on Twitter we want you to nominate your own favourite food startup. Don’t be shy!

Even if your food business doesn’t make the final cut, we’ll be giving entrants the opportunity to return for the live finale on September 17th, where you’ll get to take part in the judging and network with other entrepreneurs over a glass of Prosecco or two. And not just this – there will be talks by expert panellists, providing business-boosting practical advice and inspiration to take your company to the next level. From branding, legalities, and pitching to buyers, our team of experts has got it covered!

Whatever kind of foodpreneur you are, there’s a place for you in our four categories.

Most Exciting New Brand

Do you dream of seeing your product on the shelves of Waitrose? Does the idea of your branding being compared to iconic ones such as Heinz and Innocent give you goosebumps? Then this is the category for you – for those who hope to get their brilliant products into the supermarket to be adored by many.

Tastiest Startup

Got a food van that trundles around, selling the dreamiest burritos? Or maybe you’re a burger pop-up that can move grown men to tears. Or maybe your new cupcake shop has everyone coming back for more. This category is for the restaurant, café, food van and pop-up superstars.

Most-Loved Kid’s Food

Getting kids to expand their repertoire beyond fish fingers, or even get more food in their stomach than all over their faces (and the floor), can be a tricky business. So if you’re on a mission to feed up the next decade’s entrepreneurs, we salute you – and reckon you should enter this category!

Best Healthy Food Business

Healthy food doesn’t have to be unhappy food. If your food startup is inspiring people to get healthy, discover the power of vitamins, and generally look after themselves, then this is the category for you.

Hurry though - entries close September 3rd at midnight, and all this excitement has seen us work up an appetite! Just fill in the form below to enter - it’s free!

See you 17th September at The Doodle Bar & TestBed1 for inspiration, networking, and a celebration of the best new British food businesses around – and remember to get involved on #VirginFoodFest right away! We can’t wait to meet you!

Photo credit: @andyfishburn

Entries for this competition has now closed