Innoveat_Virgin Startup

Working Together with Virgin StartUp

We’re delighted to share details with you about our latest industry collaboration with Virgin StartUp. Together we’re working on a range of projects and events that offer support, advice and fantastic opportunities to the rising stars of the food and drink world.

Mentoring new food and drink talent

Our founder, Heerum Fleary, became a Virgin StartUp mentor in September 2017 and told us about the two up and coming brands she’s currently mentoring.

“I’m always keen to spot the latest innovative food and drink brands for TickEat, so have plenty of knowledge and experience when it comes to supporting new brands. I’m currently mentoring two small businesses who are at different stages of their journey.”

  • Balaggans – Jas and Mandeep are creating out-of-this-world, Punjabi-inspired flavour combinations with their chai teas
  • Fitch Brew Co. – Emily and Andy are on a mission to challenge people’s perceptions about coffee by unleashing the potential of cold brew coffee

“They both receive 12 hours of mentoring from me that is spread over a year for an hour a month. Mentoring for me is all about supporting the brands by being that shoulder to lean on when they require guidance on any business-related questions or issues. I often find that the founders themselves already have many of the answers to the questions they ask, so I draw this out of them while also raising their confidence levels when it comes to running their own business.”

Doing Business with Big Business

Every quarter, Virgin StartUp run an event called ‘Doing Business with Big Business’ and Heerum will be attending as a buyer for the travel and leisure sector on 14th June 2018. It’s an intensive half-day workshop that teaches startups how the procurement process works in large organisations and, what buyers take into account during negotiations.

This is followed by an exclusive meet-the-buyer session with representatives from the following companies:

    • Virgin Trains
    • Virgin Atlantic
    • John Lewis
    • Morrisons
    • Wholegood
    • LUMI Consultancy
    • Optima Retail
    • Innoveat and Tickeat

The buyers will meet a mixture of food and non-food brands who are all at different stages; this can range anywhere from initial concept, about to launch or, stocked in retailers with a view to expansion. The startups get 10 minutes with each group of buyers to ask questions, practice pitches and to try to catch their eye with their products.

Added opportunities for startups who shine

All food and drink brands attending the ‘Doing Business with Big Business’ event will be in with a chance of winning an entry into our monthly Innoveat newsletter. We’re on a mission to find and feature 12 exciting new food and drink startups, as we have the only product newsletter in the UK which is sent to over 300 buyers in the travel and leisure sectors. If you like the sound of the event and this extra opportunity, tickets to the event are available here.

Why did Virgin StartUp approach Innoveat?

Ruth Bater, Mentor Programme Coordinator at Virgin StartUp said,

“Working with Innoveat helps Virgin StartUp to connect exciting startups with buyers from some of the largest companies in the Travel and Leisure sectors. Innoveat are experts in providing a route for large companies to procure goods for start-ups.

We like to partner with companies that see the value of working with young, flexible and disruptive companies and Innoveat definitely fits the bill.”

Future collaborations

As well as the mentoring and event partnership, we’re also planning to provide Virgin StartUp with an incredible competition prize. Two new food or drink startups will each win a free stand at the 2018 Innoveat exhibition, and can use the knowledge they’ve gained so far to speak directly to lots of travel and leisure buyers in person. More details on this will follow later in the year.

Book your free ticket for Innoveat 2018

Innoveat takes place on Tuesday 16th October 2018 at the Park Inn Hotel, Heathrow. Register your details here to reserve your free ticket in advance. If you have any other queries, visit our FAQ section, speak to the team via email or, call 07944 519 654.

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