Doing Business With Big Business

Learn how to trade with some of the biggest companies in the UK

What is Doing Business With Big Business?

Doing Business With Big Business is a unique opportunity from Virgin StartUp for food and drink founders who want to trade with some of the UK's largest companies.

Get the chance to sit opposite buyers from the likes of Virgin Atlantic, Sourced Markets, Ocado, LNER and Innoveat, and find out what it takes to do business with them.

Participants will gain an insight into the decision making at big companies and learn what these organisations are looking for from small suppliers.

Doing Business With Big Business is an intensive half-day workshop followed by an exclusive meet-the-buyer session.

Who is this event for?

  • This Doing Business with Big Business programme has been designed for founders of food and drink businesses who want to learn about how to approach big retailers
  • Founders who want to perfect their pitch and learn how to negotiate
  • Founders with products who want to learn more about the way procurement works in large organisations

What buyers will be in attendance?

  • Ocado
  • Sainsbury's
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • Gate Group
  • Amazon Launchpad
  • Innoveat
  • Sourced Market
  • LNER


Virgin Atlantic
Amazon Launchpad
Gate Group
Sourced Market

Workshop details

How is it delivered?

Doing Business With Big Business is delivered by Karen Green, procurement expert and leading food and drink business advisor. Karen will deliver an interactive session that sees attendees practise pitches for buyers and work through procurement problems alongside other attendees who're also on a mission to win contracts with big businesses.

Where does it take place?

Doing Business With Big Business takes place in Central London.

Workshop details:

10:45: Arrive

11:00am – 3.30pm: Doing Business Programme

  • Procurement process by Cemal Ezel, Founder of Change Please
  • Clarifying your Brand proposition
  • Pitching to retailers
  • Thinking sustainably: packaging and best practice by Sanjay Patel, Founding Partner of The Packaging Collective
  • Negotiation skills

3:30pm - 5:30pm: Speed networking with buyers

5:30pm: Ends


Karen Green is leading Doing Business With Big Business

Karen Green

Karen Green is the founder of Food Mentor consultancy, author of best-selling book “Recipe for Success – the ingredients of a profitable food business” and a Virgin Start Up Mentor.  

She has worked as a buyer for UK retailers, Tesco and Boots, and Commercial Director for a number of food businesses from Christmas puddings to sushi!

For the last three years, she has worked with clients ranging from pre start up to established businesses with £1m turnover who need to take their sales to the next level.  She provides 1-1 mentoring, hands on sales support and consultancy to help create profitable sales growth

Karen is also a keynote speaker on business growth, sales and negotiation and regular contributor to LBC business hour.


Sanjay Patel Virgin StartUp

Sanjay Patel 

Sanjay’s corporate career saw him add value to Astra Zeneca, PZ Cussons and finally The Coca-Cola Company. He is now one of the founding partners of The Packaging Collective, and determined to leverage the experience of creating tangible change within teams, brands and organisations underpinned by sustainable growth through his consultancy: me&co.
Sanjay will be leading the session on packaging sustainability, and how we use packaging innovation to reduce our dependence on plastic.

Change Please - Cemal

Cemal Ezel, Founder, Change Please

Founded in 2015, Virgin StartUp-funded social enterprise Change Please tackles the number of rough sleepers within the UK through education programmes and barista training, enabling employment at the company’s multiple mobile coffee locations and fixed sites across the UK. The beans used in process are from farms that support local communities; improving working practices and increasing farmers living wages.
Change Please is serving great tasting coffee at 38 sites in the UK including The Shard, Canary Wharf and Borough Market. It’s also served in offices UBS, Barclays, Slaughter and May, Linklaters  Virgin and WeWork. You can also find them in the air at Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses, and all Upper Class, Premium and Economy cabins worldwide, as well as onboard Virgin Trains. Change Please can be enjoyed at home too as they are stocked in Sainsburys nationwide. Cemal is also the founder of Old Spike Roastery, a social enterprise coffee roastery in south London that supports homeless people, and Spike + Earl, a social-enterprise restaurant in London.



We secured a Virgin Trains contract thanks to Doing Business With Big Business

Jamie McCloskey, founder Love Corn