The initiative is a collaboration between Diageo and London-based innovation specialists, Independents United.
Funding of between £150,000 and £200,000 will be available to five entrepreneurs at the ‘seed stage’. The first companies will be selected in mid-November and beginning the programme in January 2014.
Diageo says Distill Ventures (DV) will be responsible for conducting master classes, the business management programmes and the mentoring. Diageo will provide the funds and make the investment decisions via its senior investment committee.
The world’s largest premium drinks company will also provide access to its knowledge and expertise.
Independents United, which describes itself as an “innovative creative agency and business accelerator with expertise in smart strategy, rapid product development and innovative marketing”, brings the entrepreneurial experience fo working with, investing in and incubating start ups and will run the accelerator programme.
DV has been launched in the UK but it is rolling out across Europe. The management team will be taking the concept to Berlin, Copenhagen, Madrid and Warsaw.
Diagoe says that in mid-2014, it will launch a ‘Growth Programme’ that is to provide the investment and support so that young brands can scale rapidly. It is expected up to £2 million will be available. Companies that either graduate from the Seed programe or apply directly will be considered for the next phase of funding.