Virgin StartUp takes 5 entrepreneurs to crack the US

Entrepreneurs are the new rock stars - and now just like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and many legendary rock’n’roll bands did before, five UK entrepreneurs are heading to Chicago on a mission to crack the US market, courtesy of Virgin StartUp.

We’ve teamed up with a number of Virgin companies and the UKTI to create the ultimate opportunity for the winners of the ‘Best Retail’ category of the Virgin StartUp Foodpreneur Festival 2015. Virgin Atlantic will be flying the five entrepreneurs to Chicago, where they’ll stay at the new Virgin Hotel in the city and receive mentoring sessions with experts from UKTI before they fly to Minneapolis to pitch to huge US retailer Target.

Target is a department store with a reach across the entire U.S and Canada - in 2014 alone it generated $72.5 billion worth of sales. Should the pitches be successful the six winners will see their products stocked in 300 stores for a trial period, before rolling out across all 2,000 Target stores if the brands prove popular with the public: this is a game-changing opportunity.

Joining them on the trip in an advisor role will be Paul Lindley, founder of Ella’s Kitchen and Paddy’s Bathroom. It was Target who broke his brand in the US and acted as the launchpad to the success it achieves today: sales of more than $100m across 40 countries.

The reason we’re doing this is not only to provide a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to the six entrepreneurs, but also to encourage and inspire more British entrepreneurs to think about exporting from day one. There is a demand for British products all over the world and we want to help people see this exists. To see the opportunities for British startups across the world right now, head to www.exportingisgreat.gov.uk.

Meet the startups heading to Chicago with Virgin StartUp:

Pip & Nut

Pip and nut small

Founder: Pippa Murray

Elevator Pitch: Fed up of processed nut butters full of palm oil, Pip & Nut create fresh, all-natural nut butters – just nuts and a sprinkling of sea salt.

Double Dutch

Double Dutch

Founders: Raissa De Haas and Joyce De Haas

Elevator Pitch: Gone are the days of the substandard mixer. Double Dutch’s mixers feature flavour combinations such as pomegranate and basil, adding a delicious twist to your cocktail and ensuring the Tesco Value tonic is banished to the back of the cupboard.

Harry Bromptons

 Harry Brompton

Founder: Ian O’Donohue

Elevator Pitch: Harry Bromptons create the world’s only alcoholic iced tea. Not just that, it’s also gluten-free and contains no preservatives or artificial nasties.

Caulirice

Cauli rice

Founder: Gem Misa

Elevator pitch: Caulirice is cauliflower-based rice that cooks in just two and a half minute, comes in multiple flavours, and has 75% less calories than white rice – making it a healthy, low-carb option, as well as a way to get one of your five-a-day.

Get the Virgin StartUp Business plan