How I’d use £5,000 to grow my business: Sabrina Hamilton, Packed Munches

Meet Sabrina Hamilton founder of Packed Munches and #Pitch2Rich semi-finalist. She’s competing for the opportunity to pitch her business idea to Richard Branson and win £5,000 investment to grow Packed Munches. You can vote for her to win, here. In this blog, Sabrina explains what difference £5,000 would make to Packed Munches. This is the average amount entrepreneurs ask for when they come to Virgin StartUp for funding.

The idea for Packed Munches came from years spent studying and working abroad by my friend and co-founder, Fiona Timba. During a particularly tough time, I sent a very homesick Fiona a box of her favourite foods to cheer her up. Soon after Packed Munches was born with the aim of delivering regular boxes of deliciousness to the millions of Brits living abroad. Packed Munches is a subscription service sending British food to expats and Anglophiles abroad who are craving a taste of home. Each month, customers can choose from either the sweet, savoury or mixed MunchBox to be delivered to them around the world.

We started the business using the bootstrap method, investing our own cash little by little to begin the early stages of creating a brand and building a basic website. This was a great place for us to start as it taught us to value every last penny and think long and hard before committing to any spend. However this method can be slow and frustrating when you really want to hit the ground running with your idea. Opportunities like Virgin Pioneers Pitch to Rich competition are so valuable to starts-ups like ours which desperately need a cash injection to get to the next stage of their development plans.

Reaching the semi finals of Pitch to Rich has been so exciting. The chance to produce a pitch video for the Virgin website to be watched by hundreds has already been so valuable to our start-up. If we were to win the grand prize we'd invest the £5000 in two key areas of the business. Website development and marketing.

As an ecommerce business, a strong website is paramount. We'd spend some of the money on refining our shop window to make our product and service sing as soon as someone lands on the site. We’d also make some key changes to the technology behind the site, making the customer journey from product to checkout as smooth as possible on all devices. Secondly, we’d like to give our customers an online platform to give us feedback on every MunchBox they receive. As a subscription service it's important for us to be able to evolve and adapt to suit our customers changing requirements and tastes. We believe this to be the key to retaining our customers long term.

Once the website is looking spic and span and we can give our customers more control, the next stage will be presenting Packed Munches to a wider audience. We’d use a chunk of the prize money to launch an international marketing campaign, allowing us to reach expats, students and Anglophiles all over the world. With events, trade shows, websites and forums all geared up to supporting British people working or studying abroad, we aim to strike up invaluable partnerships which will allow us to deliver our message to existing audiences.

We’re an enthusiastic team, with exciting plans for the future. Winning the Pitch to Rich prize money will enable us to action our plans much sooner and turn Packed Munches into a global brand. If you know anyone living abroad, are planning to move abroad yourself or just think our idea is pretty cool, please take a minute to vote for us.