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Necker Island Necker Island in British Virgin Islands, owned by Sir Richard Branson Bali Cliff at sunset Virgin handout

Shopify is kicking off its fifth annual Build A Business competition, which encourages anyone with a great business idea to start selling.

The Ottawa-based retail commerce platform, which hit the $1-billion valuation mark in Dec. 2013, has teamed up with some of the world's most successful entrepreneurs to help new and emerging stores launch and grow their businesses.

Over the past four years, the contest has helped create over 36,000 new businesses that have sold over $180-million in products. Past winners include DODOcase, GoldieBlox, Coffee Joulies, Bolder Band, among others, have gone on to create multi-million dollar businesses.

"Becoming an entrepreneur is a dream for many people, says Tobias Lütke, CEO of Shopify. "Build a Business provides the platform needed to kickstart business ideas into a reality."

To participate, entrepreneurs must open a store and start selling products using Shopify. The top five stores that sell the most over a two-month period will fly on a private jet to Richard Branson's Necker Island for a five-day adventure full of mentorship, exploration and professional growth.

"Providing mentorship along the way has proven to an invaluable tool and this year, we've brought together an all-star team to provide the guidance needed for these businesses to succeed," adds Mr. Lütke.

This year's mentors include: Sir Richard Branson (Virgin Group), Daymond John (FUBU, Shark Tank), Tim Ferriss (The 4-Hour Workweek), Marie Forleo (MarieTV) and Seth Godin (Best selling author).

The Build A Business competition runs from October 1, 2014 to May 31, 2015.

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