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Unlock the potential of your startup

Apply for our Empower100 investment - readiness programme for London founders. 4 cohorts a year.

Book a call with programme lead Steven

Chukus Empower100

Empowering founders to grow and thrive

Expert advice

In sales, leadership, funding, pitching, marketing and PR and more.

Demo Day

A select group of founders are invited to pitch on Demo Day.


Get ready to raise with a pitch deck and financial forecasts.

Founder Community

You’ll join a small cohort of founders on the same journey as you

Virgin StartUp Empower100 Cohort

Next cohort runs from 12th September - 1st November. Application deadline is 29th August

Empower100 quote

Founders Supported


Hours of Support


Total Revenues


Who is Empower100 for?

Founders based in Greater London who meet the following criteria:

  1. Have a UK business based in Greater London

  2. Been trading for a minimum of 18 months

  3. Have at least 2 employees

  4. Have a minimum turnover of £50k per annum

  5. Be raising investment for the first time

  6. Have a strong underlying business proposition

Programme Breakdown

Week 1: Getting ready for growth

What to expect

Join us in person for a welcome and intro to the programme, followed by sessions focusing on your growth strategy.

Take aways

  • Cohort networking

  • Build your Business Model Canvas

Week 2 media

Week 2: Building your brand

What to expect

Understand how to build your brand from marketing expert Sara Scott. Later, dive into the importance of sustainability and your purpose with Author of Mission Lit, Richard Johnson.

Take aways

  • Understand your brand strategy

  • Carry out a brand audit of your business

  • Clarify your brand positioning

Week 3: Sales and marketing

What to expect

Develop your marketing strategy with this practical workshop from Sara Scott. Later, learn how to build your sales strategy with Second Voice Pro.

Take aways

  • Define your marketing strategy

  • Deep dive on your marketing channels

  • Map your customer journey

  • Define your value proposition

  • Discover effective sales strategies

Virgin StartUp Empower100 Pitching

Week 4: Leadership and culture

What to expect

Learn how to develop a company culture unique to your business and the key skills and tools to lead a team throughout growth.

Take aways

  • Identify the roles you need within your team

  • Understand the legal and financial obligations of becoming an employer

  • Learn the Leadership development framework

Week 5: Financial planning for growth

Get your Finance Plan raise ready with a session led by Suzie Campbell, the Friendly CFO. Understand all things legal from due diligence to termsheets.

Key takeaways

  • Learn how to create a solid cashflow forecast

  • Understand how to track financial performance

  • Discover your legal obligations in your fundraising journey

Week 5
Week 6 media

Week 6: Funding Landscape and Journey

Get clear on the funding landscape and your funding options. Understand how to develop investor relations.

Key takeaways:

  • Understand your funding options

  • Discover how to approach investors

  • Decide on your best fundraising route

Week 7 - Pitching Skills & Networking

Learn how to build your pitch deck and the skills to present it from expert pitch coaches. Also, hear what angel investors look for and how to approach them.

Key takeaways:

  • Understand how to build a killer pitch deck

  • Learn techniques to pitch virtually

  • Discover body language and vocal techniques to engage and influence

Pitch Practice Virgin StartUp Empower100

Next cohort runs from 12th September - 1st November. Application deadline is 29th August


Still deciding? Book in a call with Steven to find out more

Book a free call to find out more about the programme and what's involved for you

Empower100 FAQs

Empower100 is an 8-week accelerator to help founders unlock the next stage of growth for their startup through a series of workshops, networking, training, peer-to-peer support and pitch events. It is designed specifically for Black, Asian and minority ethnic founders, women founders and founders with a disability.

This project is part-funded by the UK government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is a central pillar of the UK government’s Levelling Up agenda and provides £2.6 billion of funding for local investment by March 2025. The Fund aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK investing in communities and place, supporting local business, and people and skills. For more information, visit

Virgin StartUp have worked with thousands of founders to help them develop the skills, confidence, contacts and networks to grow their businesses and thrive.

Empower100 has been designed by experts to help you:

  • Get the necessary materials together for fundraising

  • Understand the funding landscape and investor expectations

  • Develop a strong pitch by practicing with actual investors

  • Learn how to find and approach potential investors

You’ll also get follow-on support after the programme not only by being added to our alumni community group, but also getting a dedicated mentor for 6 months and 6 additional months of facilitated peer mastermind sessions with your cohort to go on the fundraising journey together.

We’ve designed our accelerator specifically for women founders, Black, Asian and minority ethnic founders; and founders with a disability.

To apply, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Have a UK business based in Greater London

  • Been trading for a minimum of 18 months

  • Have at least 2 employees

  • Have a minimum turnover of £50k per annum

  • Have a strong underlying business proposition

We're industry-agnostic, so are looking for ambitious founders from different industries.

We review each application carefully and select a group of businesses that, we feel, are at a similar stage in their development. This allows us to ensure that the content delivered throughout the programme is relevant and targeted. It also ensures that participants get the most out of the interaction with their peers.

Places on the programme are strictly limited. Therefore we are unable to offer a place for business partners, co-founders, or friends at the workshops.

However, you are welcome to bring a business partner to attend with you to some of the 1-2-1 sessions with advisors.

The programme will be delivered in a hybrid format with two days in person in London and the rest delivered via Zoom.