Startup Britons: Pitch to Branson

Philip Salter
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RESEARCH released to launch the Nectar Business Small Business Awards suggests that over a quarter (28 per cent) of Brits claim to have an idea for a completely new invention or service. Of course, every idea isn’t a winner, but for those that would like to see if they have what it takes there are plenty of events out there.

Next Monday, Virgin Media Pioneers opens a competition to win a chance to pitch your start-up idea to Sir Richard Branson at his home; while Startup Britain will host a week of free financial workshops from the week commencing 14 May (

The British Library’s Business & IP Centre ( hosts plenty of free events for budding entrepreneurs. The Library’s new entrepreneur in residence, Stephen Fear, is running speed mentoring sessions. Billed as “50 years of business expertise in one hour” Fear aims to give in-depth advice on marketing, intellectual property and financial markets.

But the best things in life aren’t always free. For those looking to start a creative business, Dragons’ Den investor and serial entrepreneur Doug Richard and his team of small business experts are running Creative Country Business – a two-day hands-on training course designed to teach you how to turn your creative ideas into a full-time business from 11 and 12 June for £495( On the following day, Real Business and the CBI, in association with Investec, will host an Entrepreneurs’ Summit ( on “The Growth Challenge”. Attendance costs £249. Are you one of the 28 per cent?
Twitter: @Philip_Salter