We’re so excited about Virgin Foodpreneur 2017 – it’s not every day you get to partner with an awesome brand such as Intu in order to provide life-changing opportunities for UK startups.

Foodpreneur is all about celebrating the best and the brightest of the UK’s food and drink scene, finding tomorrow’s next household names in food and drink and propelling them to the next stage.

Last year’s winnersDouble Dutch, Harry Brompton’s London Ice Tea, Pip & Nut, and Cauli Rice – have gone from strength to strength. We asked them about why you should enter Virgin Foodpreneur 2017.

Got an amazing food startup? Our competition Virgin Foodpreneur is now open for 2017 entries! Find out more.

Raissa & Joyce de Haas – Double Dutch

Why you should enter #VirginFoodpreneur 2017

Foodpreneur offers a fantastic opportunity to build your brand via ongoing support from the Virgin team and amazing networking opportunities. It's a great learning curve and even if you don’t make it to the final winners, you still get the opportunity of getting your brand to a lot of relevant people, with real-time feedback that can help your brand further.

Winning Foodpreneur 2015 made a real difference for us. We learned so much from the Virgin team in terms of how to export to the USA and outside of Europe, and gained invaluable experience while pitching for Target. What might have helped us even more was the credibility and media coverage we gained from winning this award, which translated directly in building client relations and customers. 

It was fantastic to meet Sir Richard Branson - he is one of the most inspiring entrepreneurs and he's always been someone we've looked up to a lot. To have him aligned with our brand is really priceless. 

There is really nothing to lose - it's such a great opportunity to help build your brand and become part of a fantastic network.

Ian O’Donohue – Harry Brompton’s London Ice Tea

Why you should enter #VirginFoodpreneur 2017 - Harry Brompton

Meeting Sir Richard was inspirational - the energy and the relentless desire to overcome challenges clearly comes through. “Screw it, lets do it” is a phrase frequently said in our office.

I would encourage anyone thinking of entering Foodpreneur 2017 to sign up for it immediately and hopefully you could go all the way. There’s nothing to lose and everything to gain. Even the pitching process is a useful experience if you don’t win. If you do win the reward is a fantastic opportunity to take your business to the next level. Do it now!

Pippa Murray – Pip & Nut

Why you should enter #VirginFoodpreneur 2017 - Pip and Nut

Winning the Virgin Foodpreneur competition in 2015 was a fantastic experience and opportunity. Pip & Nut was less than a year old at the time, so getting the chance to go to the USA and learn from experts about exporting from the UKTI was incredibly valuable and would not have been possible without Virgin Startups.

Pitching to such a huge US retailer was also great practice and I definitely learnt some lessons that I brought back to the UK with me. And Sir Richard Branson is such an iconic entrepreneur, so it was really inspiring to meet him.

My one piece of advice to anyone entering Foodpreneur 2017 would be to really nail your product and be sure it is better than its competition. If you don't believe your product is the best out there, neither will the person you are pitching to.

We've partnered with intu to bring back Virgin Foodpreneur for 2017! If you're a food and drink startup, we want to hear from you. Find out more and apply here!