Plymouth University’s GAIN team is bringing SOUP – the international crowdfunding phenomenon – to the South West business community. Investment-hungry businesses will pitch their ideas to an audience, who will mull over the presentations over soup, before voting for their favourite with their empty bowls.

The first SOUP event will be at Plymouth University on 3 February, with three further events planned for the spring. The events will give businesses the chance to secure a minimum £750 investment, made up of ticket sales and supplemented by GAIN, as well as a package of other benefits.

The winner at each of the four events will be given a place among the GAIN20. This new network will give the 20 most innovative and exciting businesses in Devon, Cornwall and Somerset exclusive access to a unique series of opportunities and support over 12 months.

The winning businesses will also be given a month’s free fellowship of the RSA, courtesy of RIO, and six months’ mini membership of Plymouth and Devon Chamber of Commerce. They will also have the option of taking a place at Plymouth University’s award-winning Formation Zone, which provides workspace as well as professional support. The prize also includes free access to the Futures Entrepreneurship Centre’s BETA Enterprise programme.

Corporate Projects Manager for Plymouth University, Richard Adams, said: 

“SOUP started in Detroit and has played a key role in the regeneration of the city. It’s now a global phenomenon and we’re excited to be bringing it to support the South West’s business community for the first time. SOUP is a powerful and democratic way of engaging local people in the community and we think it will also be a great opportunity for us to find dynamic businesses to join the GAIN20.”
GAIN20 members will have exclusive access to networking groups and events, Plymouth University facilities, equipment and knowledge and peer-to-peer support from the other members. They will be introduced to a community of established, passionate pathfinder businesses who have achieved sustained growth through innovation or diversification. Members will also have the opportunity to promote themselves through blogs, diaries and articles published on