Delighted to see businesses we've funded and supported through Virgin StartUp succeed and flourish as they grow. We were particularly proud when Virgin StartUp-supported ventures swept the board at the star-studded final of the WeWork Creator Awards in London.
The WeWork Creator Awards recognises and rewards the entrepreneurs and creatives of the world – across all industries and all stages of growth – by committing funding to small businesses, growing companies, not-for-profits, performing artists, and more. Of hundreds of businesses that apply, finalist are invited to pitch to a panel of judges including actor and tech investor Ashton Kutcher, Vanessa Kingori MBE, publishing director of British Vogue; Michelle Kennedy, co-founder of Peanut app; and Jonas Templestein, co-founder of Monzo.
It’s an incredible opportunity for businesses and I was thrilled to hear that out of the eight businesses that pitched on the night, three had been supported by Virgin StartUp (mOm Incubators, Change Please and Sustainably) and two of them walked away with more than £180k in investment. Change Please, the coffee company who help lift people out of homelessness, won the non-profit category, taking home £50k. This was just days after they became the official coffee company supplier for Virgin Trains, a relationship kicked off from the Virgin StartUp event Doing Business With Big Business.
The other big winners on the night were Sustainably, a Scottish mother and daughter team, who took home £130k for their company, which uses tech to enable frictionless charitable giving. They were also runners up in the Virgin StartUp 10: Scotland awards earlier in the year and I had the chance to surprise them at a hotel in Edinburgh during their winners mentoring session and learn all about what they’re getting up to. With the business going from strength to strength, we were really happy to have Sustainably join CrowdBoost – our equity crowdfunding accelerator - and we're thrilled that they’re well on their way to scaling their impact led business, with the recent cash injection from WeWork.
Here at Virgin we are on a mission to help change business for good, and it's encouraging to see businesses we've supported through Virgin StartUp achieving real growth and scale, whilst doing having a strong purpose at their core.
I look forward to enjoying some socially-minded coffee on my next Virgin Trains trip!