Announcing the 5th Shopify Build a Business Competition


Picture this: You’re strolling down the sandy beach of a remote, tropical island with the success of your new business lightening your step, and Sir Richard Branson alongside you giving advice on how to keep that business growing.

For our fifth annual Build a Business Competition, we’re doing things a little differently. We’re flying five winners on a private jet to Richard Branson’s Necker Island for a five-day adventure full of mentorship, exploration, and professional growth.

On Necker Island, you’ll be joined by this year’s mentors: Richard Branson, Daymond John, Marie Forleo, Tim Ferriss, and special guest Seth Godin. This all-star ensemble will offer you personalized, invaluable advice and guidance to help you continue to grow your business. If you’ve ever had the urge to launch your own business, this is the time to do it.

Here’s How it Works

To participate in this year’s competition, all you have to do is come up with a product, open a Shopify store, enter the competition – then start selling.

At the end of the competition, the five stores that sell the most over a two-month period will win this trip of a lifetime.

You can enter the competition from today until March 31st, 2015 and any Shopify store that was opened after June 1st, 2014 may join the competition. You’ll be able to keep ramping up sales until May 31, 2015 when the competition officially closes.

The competition is open to residents of US (select states), UK, AUS, NZ, Canada, Spain and Denmark. Although strict gaming laws prevent us from making prizes available in every country, everyone can participate in the competition.

The Prizes

Each of the five winners will receive:

  • A private jet to Necker Island, where you’ll spend five days alongside your fellow winners and mentors
  • Complimentary meals, drinks, water sports, tennis, pools and a jacuzzi for your enjoyment at Necker Island
  • The opportunity to gain mentorship and insight from each of our renowned mentors
  • An intimate group seminar led by acclaimed entrepreneur Seth Godin

The Mentors

This year’s mentors include names that every entrepreneur will recognize. These media moguls and business powerhouses are willing to share their time and knowledge with our winners – which is truly the most valuable part of the prize.

Each winner will earn the opportunity to seek advice and guidance from our mentors while enjoying time on Necker Island.

Start saving up your business questions, because these are the mentors you could have the opportunity to meet:

Sir Richard Branson |  @richardbransonSir Richard Branson | @richardbranson

Richard is best known as the founder of Virgin Group (comprised of more than 400 companies), but he’s been starting businesses since the age of 16. Richard is the only person in the world to have built eight billion-dollar companies from scratch in eight different verticals.

Daymond John |  @TheSharkDaymondDaymond John | @TheSharkDaymond

Daymond created the fashion brand FUBU. His marketing savvy helped the company reach over $6 billion in sales. Daymond is a regular investor on ABC’s Shark Tank, and helps guide small businesses on the road to success.

Marie Forleo |  @marieforleoMarie Forleo | @marieforleo

Marie was named by Oprah as a thought leader for the next generation and one of Inc’s 500 fastest growing companies of 2014. She reaches over 275,000 readers in 193 countries worldwide and is the creator of the award-winning show MarieTV.

Tim Ferriss |  @tferrissTim Ferriss | @tferriss

Tim is the author of the New York Times bestseller The 4 Hour Workweek. Aside from being an advisor to Shopify, Tim is an active angel investor, having previously invested in StumbleUpon, Facebook, Uber and Twitter.

Seth Godin |  @ThisIsSethsBlogSeth Godin | @ThisIsSethsBlog

Seth is the author of 17 books that have been bestsellers around the world and translated into more than 35 languages. He’s the founder of, and his blog – which he posts on every single day – is one of the most popular in the world.

Past Winners

Previous Build A Business Winners have gone off to secure Superbowl ad slots (like GoldieBlox) and have their product purchased by President Barack Obama (like DODOcase).

Last year’s winners shared their thoughts on the impact of winning the competition:

“As an aspiring entrepreneur, this will for sure go down as one of the better days of my life.” - Jake Kassan, MVMT Watches

“This is the most enlightening one hour of my life that I’ve had.” Michael Cao, Zoomhash (about his session with Tim Ferriss)

Take a look at last year’s VIP Winner’s Day in NYC:

Over the past four years, our Build A Business competition has helped create over 36,000 new businesses that have sold over $180 million in products.

If you’ve ever thought about starting your own business or selling something online, there is no better time than right now.

For more information on this year’s Build A Business Competition, view the competition sign-up page, frequently asked questions and competition rules.