VIDEO: Virgin StartUp Foodpreneur Fest
Pssst: looking for Foodpreneur Festival 2017? Entries are now open - find out more!
Since launching Virgin StartUp we’ve met thousands of entrepreneurs and funded hundreds of businesses. Throughout this journey one thing keeps cropping up, fantastic food start-ups.
The appetite for food start-ups in the UK is growing and there seems to be a new street-food market, independent product and pop–up restaurant appearing in abandoned warehouses, supermarket shelves or street corners every week.
In fact, the food industry displays the type of sector that us here at Virgin StartUp are really interested in. It’s disruptive, it’s full of passionate people and it’s one that entrepreneurs are finding ways to enter with new businesses all the time.
With that in mind we decided to create the Virgin Food Fest 2014. A competition to uncover the very best food startups in the UK, give them the opportunity to pitch to Sir Richard Branson plus a panel of industry experts, then put them on a pedestal to inspire more people to follow in their footsteps and launch food businesses of their own.
We were inundated with incredible entries and put together eight finalists all run by smart entrepreneurs with big ideas. These final eight were a wonderfully eclectic mix: from the popular street food stall, Killer Tomato to the delicious Duke of Delhi chocolate that can be found on the shelves at Fortnum and Mason.
In true Virgin Style, we wanted to showcase these businesses in the right environment, so we filled a venue with 200 food entrepreneurs, industry experts, journalists and had our very own food festival. The drinks (provided by Harry Brompton’s and Bar on a Bike) flowed, the judges picked four brilliant winners, social media stats rocketed, and the press coverage for the winners since has been great.
The excitement created around this event and the eight finalists has been huge. It’s left us feeling even more motivated and reaffirmed that there are still thousands of people out there looking to start business that we can help through access to funding and mentoring.
Now it’s time to kick on and spread the word. Virgin Startup is a not-for-profit company and we’re obsessed with helping people start businesses. We give out loans ranging from £500 up to £25,000 and match them with mentors who help to guide these entrepreneurs on their journey. If that sounds like something that you could benefit from you can apply now.
The Winners Revealed
Tastiest Startup Award – Killer Tomato
Best healthy food business – Sweet Virtues
Most exciting new brand – Proper Beans
Most Loved Kid’s food – Sweetpea Pantry