£200,000 investment up for grabs as Worth Foundation search for retail ideas

Winners and runners-up will have access to an investment prize of up to £200,000 being raised on equity crowd funding platform Seedrs, which allows the public to invest in and own a portion of each of the Worth Foundation winning businesses.

Once the contest is closed and investment target reached, the winner will have access to up to £100,000 of investment and up to £50,000 of investment will be made available to each of the two runners-up.

The winner will also have access to £3,000 funding from Worth, plus expert mentoring equivalent to £9,000 to help them get their ideas off the ground, and the opportunity to boost their brand with a pop-up shop at Shoreditch’s Boxpark for one month. Runners-up will receive £1,500 each and £4,500 worth of mentoring from the team.

Alex Johns and Paul Soanes, retail experts and the founders and managing partners of Worth Retail, will head up the judging panel, which is comprised of top UK entrepreneurs: Roger Wade of Boxpark, Jeff Lynn of Seedrs and Michael Acton Smith of Mind Candy, along with Jayne Atherton, Metro’s Business Editor and Kenny Campbell, Metro’s Editor.

Once the expert judging panel have assessed the entries and invited the cream-of-the-retail-crop to take part in a pitch session in London, the winner and two lucky runners-up to receive the life-changing investment and support package will be announced.

To be eligible, retailers need to have been trading for no more than two years,  have a turnover of less than £250,000 and most importantly, have a great idea that they’re sure will be the next big thing with the right support, which will come in the form of mentoring from Alex Johns and Paul Soanes.

In the past, Alex and Paul have helped names such as cosmetics brand Maybelline and the BBC use this sort of ‘connected’ retail to their advantage.

Discussing Worth Foundation Fund, Paul Soanes said: “People complain that the retail landscape is changing too fast, but for those with the right knowledge, this presents a real opportunity.

“Through the Worth Foundation Fund, we want to find talented people with fire in their belly for retailing, and help equip them with the resources, skills and knowledge they need to grow their businesses into sustainable and profitable endeavours.

“It could be someone who has a new consumer product that will have mass appeal, or a popular digital or technology retail idea. We want someone who has the insight to identify gaps in the market, the imagination to come up with a niche idea or product range to fill it and the inspiration to make it happen and get the public reaching for their wallets.

Alex Johns added: “If businesses are to survive, they need to know how to attract, and keep, the right customers. We know from experience that the best way to do this is through integrating online and offline channels and we’re looking forward to helping up-and-coming retailers get to grips with how they can use the technology at their disposal to boost their bottom line.

“Crowdfunding seemed like the perfect way to generate funding for the winners. Reaching out to consumers is a great way to not only raise investment for the fund, but also to ensure that the winners are supported by the people who really matter – their future customers – from the outset. And of course, it’s a great example of a way in which retailers can blend online and offline worlds to their benefit.”

Watch http://www.metro.co.uk/money for further details

To follow the competition on Twitter, search #worth2014