Gary still in hunt for Branson funding

Derry entrepreneur, Gary Bates, with his 'Test Your Drink' invention.
Derry entrepreneur, Gary Bates, with his 'Test Your Drink' invention.
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Local entrepreneur, Gary Bates, has reached the second round of a competition that could see him receive financial support from British business tycoon, Sir Richard Branson.

Gary’s product, ‘Test Your Drink,’ is but one of 160 businesses that have been shortlisted for the next round of ‘Voom 2016.’

‘Test Your Drink’ can be conveniently used to ascertain whether a drink has been spiked or not.

Gary’s invention reached the next round after it received a share of the highest number of public votes.

The shortlisted businesses will take part in an attempt to break the Guinness World Record™ for ‘longest business pitch marathon this week.

Judges will be challenged to whittle these down to just 40 semi-finalists who could go on to pitch to Sir Richard Branson and international business heavyweights Tyra Banks, Sara Blakely and Marcus Butler, in the VOOM 2016 grand final on June 28.

Gary has developed ‘Test Your Drink’ to combat drink spiking and is hoping to use the competition to elevate the profile of his invention.

“I really want to say a big thank you to everyone who voted for ‘Test Your Drink’ online because without them I wouldn’t have reached the next round,” said Gary.

“I am really excited to representing Derry and I hope the judges can see what it is I am trying to do with ‘Test Your Drink.

“The pitch is in London later this week so I will be busy making sure I have everything in order - fingers crossed Derry has a winner,” he concluded.