From more than 500 inspirational entries, Sir Richard Branson and his non profit foundation Virgin Unite have announced that the global winner of the 2012 ‘Screw Business As Usual’ competition is Raise5, a new fundraising platform that creatively uses free time and talents to raise money for charity.

Richard Branson and Jamie Oliver
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The winner announcement came at a special Screw Business As Usual fundraising Summit in London where, via videolink from Canada, Raise5 accepted their award and once-in-a lifetime prize – a connection trip to Sir Richard Branson’s home in South Africa to discuss their idea in person with Richard and Virgin Unite.

A wide variety of entries were submitted throughout the Virgin Unite competition, including a solar powered football, the world’s most ethical pants and a train carriage that allows passengers to share business ideas and strategy. Raise5, a donation-based start-up, was voted for by the public and made the overall Top 10 ideas, which were then put to a panel of inspiring judges, including Sir Richard.

The team of young social entrepreneurs behind Raise5
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Discussing the Raise5 concept, Sir Richard said: “It’s simple, entrepreneurial and it works. There were so many fantastic entries but Raise5 stood out for me as a perfect example of how anyone can think differently to affect change. Raise5 is about leveraging your skills, talents and creativity as a force for good and that’s exactly what we’re asking business leaders to consider in the way that they approach the world of work. The sheer number of companies that entered the competition who want to be successful and profitable but also want to do more to help people and the planet is inspirational. Profit alone is now not the only driving force for many businesses”.

Richard Branson Jamie Oliver and the speakers at the screw business as usual summit
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Mike Tang, founder of Raise5, said: “There were so many fantastic entries but we took an idea that we felt could genuinely help. We’re so happy that our idea has been recognised by Sir Richard Branson. We wanted to create a new way to give back which is fun and convenient. Looking around, everyone has talents, so we thought how can we turn those talents into donations? And that’s when we came up with the idea for Raise5. We’re so looking forward to the next steps for Raise5, working with Virgin Unite and getting the Screw Business As Usual message out there”.

As part of the prize, Raise5 will get to meet frontline leaders who are making a difference, share ideas with fledgling business owners at the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship, South Africa and then get to spend several days in glorious Africa with Sir Richard and the rest of the group, experiencing animals in the wild and fantastic luxury at Ulusaba, Sir Richard’s private game reserve.

Sir Richard and Virgin Unite thanked all of the Screw Business As Usual entrants for their ideas, some of which will be featured in Sir Richard’s next book.

The summit took place on May 14 at Jamie Oliver's flagship restaurant, Fifteen London, and saw Branson and Oliver join together in the kitchen for a culinary adventure.

For more information on the work of Virgin Unite and the Screw Business As Usual movement, visit www.virginunite.com.

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