New UK business founders who strive for their start-up to have a positive impact on the world and plan to raise investment for the first time have just one week left to apply for a place on Virgin StartUp’s Collective Impact programme.
Last year, 24 founders raised £4 million after completing the course run by Virgin’s not-for-profit incubator for new founders. In total, 34 entrepreneurs have completed the course, raising £6.2 million in funding within the first twelve months of graduating.
Successful alumni include London-based OxWash, an environmentally friendly laundry service which raised £475,000 as a direct result of the programme and has gone on to secure £10 million in investment, as well as achieving B Corp certification. Co-Founder, Kyle Grant, who used to work as a scientist at NASA, explains: “Collective Impact was incredible. It taught us more about our focus and the funding landscape than any YouTube video or blog article ever could.”
Thomas Panton, founder of Canopey, a new UK based ethical shopping platform, which completed the course back in October and has gone on to raise £285,000, adds: “Collective Impact really supercharged our journey as a high growth, sustainability-focussed start-up. The programme helped us successfully raise funding from angels, two funds and a crowdfunder with more than 350+ backers. What’s more, we made great friends and connections, both from our cohort and from the mentors and industry leaders running the sessions.”
Applications close on Sunday 30 April 2023 and successful founders will be selected based on their business potential and their aim to address some of the biggest issues of our time, such as responsible commerce and consumption; technology for planetary health; and creating equal access to societal needs.
The application window coincides with Better Business Day on Wednesday 26 April, which raises awareness of the Better Business Act, a campaign backed by 2,000 businesses, including Virgin StartUp, as they call for an update to the law to make sure every business aligns the interests of people and planet with profit.
Andy Fishburn, Managing Director at Virgin StartUp, explains: “Start-ups can play a crucial role in helping us find solutions to some of these big problems and that’s why we launched Collective Impact. Given the right support to innovate and invest from the beginning, there is huge potential for these founders to make a difference both collectively and as they scale-up sustainably.”
Delivered over seven weeks, the Collective Impact programme offers founders one-to-one mentoring with industry experts alongside weekly in-person workshops to help founders understand their funding options and refine their impact strategy so that their impact continues to grow as their business does. The founders will also get the chance to practice their pitch with impact investors. At the end of the programme, each founder will be allocated a dedicated mentor for the next six months, as well as being invited to monthly peer mastermind sessions.