Three UK entrepreneurs, who launched their business thanks to funding from Virgin StartUp, are celebrating after winning the opportunity of a lifetime to develop their business growth strategy in the sky with Sir Richard Branson. They will also gain further financial advice from Rob Love, chairman of UK’s crowdfunding platform, Crowdfunder. The sessions will take place during Virgin Atlantic’s inaugural flight from London to Detroit on June 11th.
Also joining the flight will be Tom Wood, Trading Director of Rapha, the sportswear and lifestyle brand and Julie Dean, the Founder of the Cambridge Satchel Company. Sir Richard, Rob, Tom and Julie will be on hand to support the entrepreneurs in their plans for expansion.
The three winners were today announced as:
- Charlotte Cramer: Age 24 from Tower Hamlets, launched her business in March this year thanks to an £11,300 loan from Virgin StartUp. Her company, Glow Away, is the first psychologist-approved solution to fear of the dark. It consists of a bedtime story book and a glow in the dark duvet-set that helps children to overcome their fear of the dark. The company achieved over fifty sales in its first week of trading and continues to go from strength-to strength.
- George Edwards: Age 19, from Canterbury, launched his business last year after receiving a 19k Virgin StartUp loan, he also secured an additional £15k from crowdfunding. George developed the idea for his business when he was still at school. Gas Sense uses a sensor strip that attaches magnetically to the side of a gas bottle and monitors how much gas remains. The information is then transmitted to a screen or smartphone, giving a percentage fill and an estimated time when the gas will run out. Gas Sense has now sold a pilot batch to a multi-national gases company.
- Sam Morgan: Aged 38, who lives in Leeds, received a £15k Virgin StartUp loan to launch his business in March. His company, Paria, produces urban influenced cycling apparel using up and coming artists and designers. In a short amount of time, the company has already had great success including securing distribution with an independent northern cycling business, sponsored a Transcontinental Racer and linking with local businesses to stage the Tour de Yorkshire show in Leeds.
During the flight, the three winners will have the opportunity to develop a campaign plan with Sir Richard Branson and upon arrival in Detroit they will meet with Rob Love, Chairman of Crowdfunder. The aim of the sessions is to produce a compelling plan to secure second stage funding to support their business’ next stage of growth.
After the trip, Crowdfunder and Virgin StartUp will work with the three entrepreneurs and help them to put their plan into action.
Richard Branson, Virgin Group Founder, announced:
“These three companies are fantastic examples of British businesses looking to make their mark on a global scale. I’m looking forward to working with Charlotte, Sam and George to help develop the next stage of their business plans. Detroit is a city ripe with start-ups and this is a fantastic opportunity for them to gain great business advice and buid her understanding of the US market and how their business could expand there. It’s set to be a great trip!”
“As a huge advocate of Great British business, Crowdfunder is delighted to be working with Charlotte, George and Sam as they all look to develop their business further. We’ve helped projects on Crowdfunder raise the funds that they need to expand. With the combined commitment to British business from Virgin Start Up and Crowdfunder, they are all in good hands for brilliant business expansion advice and enterprise growth.”
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