We’re thrilled to announce that two of our Virgin Startup-funded businesses have made it to the semi-finals of The Big Startup Loan competition, beating tough competition from all angles.

The overall winner of the competition will receive a cash prize of £5000, an iMac, and more, while ten regional winners will win £500 – and twenty two runners up will receive a limited PR package from JHPR, helping them promote and market their business.

The lucky finalists are:

Jenny Scott, Seasons Plenty Catering

Seasons Plenty create beautiful food featuring seasonal and sustainable produce, ensuring that any event they cater for has a menu of healthy goodness. Using local suppliers and taking inspiration from the countryside, their signature is food that’s both good for you and that reflects the countryside around you.

Giles Mitchell, Office Pantry

Sick of the lack of healthy options for when the 4pm hunger struck in the office, Office Pantry decided to overhaul snacking with their honesty boxes full of delicious and wholesome treats. The boxes are delivered to the office, employees pay for their food on an honesty box basis, and at the end of every week the money and empty boxes are collected and restocked.

Giles from Office Pantry comments “I think the judges recognised that eating good, wholesome food when working in the office is a real problem for people, and that the independent producers of Britain also have difficulty reaching hungry foodies. By putting the producers and office works together, Office Pantry enables everyone to have greater choice and puts the power in their hands as to what they eat and when they eat it.

“Winning would certainly make us all permanently smile for the next month or so!” he continues. “In all seriousness, it would give us a rubber-stamped seal of approval from Startup Loans and Boris (the Lord Mayor of London), whilst generating publicity - meaning the people we are trying to help will hear more about us and what we are doing for them.”

The finalists will now produce a three minute video pitch to submit to the judging panel before 13th October, before attending an exclusive award ceremony at the Mayor’s office on third November. It’s a hugely exciting time, and all the best to our finalists – go get ‘em!