PRESS RELEASE

20 October 2015

WINNING PITCH TO RICH ENTREPRENEURS RECEIVE £1M PRIZE BOOST AS SIR RICHARD BRANSON REVEALS TOP TIPS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES

Almost one hundred days since the Virgin Media Business Pitch to Rich competition winners were crowned and won a slice of the £1m prize, Sir Richard officially kick-started their campaigns by unveiling each winner’s individually branded Virgin Train carriage that form part of the “Business is GREAT” train. The train will service the West Coast Mainline, promoting the three businesses – JustPark, Kino-Mo and Fourex.  The winners were also awarded with an unlimited Virgin Train travel pass to make sure they can get to their all-important business meetings.

  • Milestone reached in Virgin Media Business Pitch to Rich competition, following 100 days since final
  • Virgin Trains and Virgin Media Business host joint event at Euston station with winners

At the event at Euston station, Sir Richard Branson spoke to the winners and runners-up. He said: “Starting a business can be difficult and daunting but if you remain curious and passionate; find ideas that ignite your fire; and focus on your customers and the people within your team, you should not only be able to start one successful business, but many! With the Virgin Media Business Pitch to Rich competition we set out to find great business ideas with the potential to disrupt a market. These branded Virgin Trains are a fantastic start to this exciting journey and will help showcase the winning businesses and become an established name.” 

Sir Richard also revealed his top tops for entrepreneurs starting or running a small business.  

Sir Richard Branson's top tips for entrepreneurs:

1. Think long-term. Businesses can take years to really get off the ground and it won’t be an easy path. Having a clear business plan can really help in the first two years, but it’s just as important to be thinking five year ahead – what’s the big ambition? Looking long-term will keep you inspired through tough times.

2. Use your passion. Having the right attitude is vital if you want partners, funders or customers to engage with your business. Remaining positive and communicating your passion will make others believe in you and want to join you. Every budding entrepreneur will face set-backs, but remember why you’re doing all this, and those can make you stronger.

3. Build networks
. Communication is everything. Find time to build a network and proactively develop relationships with potential partners and suppliers. Email, call, Skype and social media make it easier than ever. But it’s also really important to make the time for face-to-face meetings to really cement those bonds. And alongside all that work, remember to stay in touch with family and friends too – they know you best and can often offer the best advice, as well as the occasional reality check!  My most important business advisor remains my first – my Mum!

Quotes

Mark Whitehouse, Executive Director, Finance at Virgin Trains, said: “At Virgin Trains we know that SMEs face all sorts of challenges, and we know the importance of face-to-face meetings in securing business deals and maintaining relationships. That’s why we are happy to provide the Pitch to Rich winners with unlimited free First Class travel to help them get ahead in their first year.”

Peter Kelly,
 Managing Director, Virgin Media Business, said: “Today marks an amazing milestone as the Pitch to Rich winners’ campaigns begin!  We’re thrilled to see their hard work over the last 100 days come to life as their businesses tour the West Coast Mainline.  At Virgin Media Business, supporting small and growing businesses – like JustPark, Kino-Mo and Fourex – is our passion; it’s part of our purpose. We offer a whole range of connectivity products and services – including the fastest broadband – and we’re investing billions of pounds to make sure our broadband network can get to more businesses up and down the country.”

About Virgin Trains

Virgin Trains is the brand name of Virgin Rail Group (VRG), which is owned by Virgin Group (51%) and Stagecoach (49%). Virgin Trains has operated the West Coast passenger train franchise since 1997, serving key UK cities including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow. In June 2014 the Department for Transport (DfT) awarded VRG a new franchise until at least April 2017.

Virgin Trains is committed to delivering a high speed, high frequency service, offering shorter journey times, more comfortable travel and excellent customer service. We provide the most frequent long-distance rail service in Europe (London - Manchester and London – Birmingham, both every 20 minutes).  Since 1997, Virgin Trains has introduced over 70 new trains at a cost of £1.5 billion. The service carries more than 34.5 million passengers a year and Virgin Trains employs approximately 3,290 staff. Virgin Trains customers consistently rate the company as one of the top long-distance rail franchise operators in the National Passenger Survey (NPS) commissioned by industry watchdog “Passenger Focus”.  Visit the Virgin Trains Media Room - www.virgintrains.co.uk/mediaroom - for the latest news, images and videos. To receive new content, as it is published, go to Follow Virgin Trains and click on ‘Create account’.

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About Virgin Media

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