Virgin Money - proud to sponsor Start

Virgin Money - proud to sponsor Start

Virgin Money’s ‘Be The Start’ sustainable business competition

Start - Be the start competition winner

Start’s ‘Be The Start’ campaign aims to demonstrate how living sustainably can be rewarding and meaningful. For 31 days in May, 31 businesses and organisations joined the campaign to support and inspire people in their journey towards a sustainable lifestyle.

As part of the month-long campaign, Virgin Money and Start offered young entrepreneurs the chance to pitch a sustainable business or product idea to a panel of industry leaders from Virgin, B&Q, Marks & Spencer and IBM.

We received 80 entries in all and chose five finalists to present their ideas to the judging panel, and potentially a worldwide audience, in the first ever ‘Dragon’s Den’ style live pitch online on Google + Hangouts.

The five finalists were:

Misfits – a company that produces tasty dried fruit from produce that would usually be rejected.
DoNation – who aim to make the world a better place by asking people to commit to action rather than cash donations.
Edible Bus Stop – an initiative to transform forgotten bus stops into valuable community growing spaces.
GiveMeTap – who created a reusable water bottle which people can fill up at a network of cafes up and down the UK.
Project Bees Wax – who aim to improve pollination outcomes for fruit and crop growers globally by locating scarce beehives at locations across the UK.

The overall winner was Edwin Broni-Mensah from ‘GiveMeTap’ with his idea for a reusable water bottle which people can fill up at a network of cafes and restaurants across the UK. As well as making it easier for people in the UK to keep hydrated on the go, every bottle sold contributes towards developing a water borehole or well, to give people in Africa access to the clean drinking water we take for granted.

Edwin’s pitch impressed all the judges and earned him £10,000 to help develop his sustainable business. Speaking after his win, Edwin said “I was so happy and delighted to have had recognition from the judges for what we've been doing. This money is going to help us develop the business by expanding our product lines and we will also be able to complete our GiveMeTap app for Android. Of course, this will result in more social good – I've recently arrived back from a trip to Ghana to unveil the latest water well, which will give 850 people access to clean water for life.”

Find out more about GiveMeTap.

For more information about the campaign visit Be The Start, follow @Start_UK or use #BeTheStart on Twitter, or go to plus.google.com/+StartUk.