2 June 2015
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Top businesses edge towards £1M Pitch to Rich prize as semi-finalists are revealed
Record 2,5000 pitches submitted since March; 550,000 votes cast to select semi-finalists
02 June 2015: Virgin Media Business has announced the top 32 businesses and innovators who have made it through to the Semi-Final stage of its entrepreneur competition ‘#VOOM: Pitch to Rich 2015’, in association with the world’s largest professional network, LinkedIn.
The Semi-Finalists were whittled down from the top 250 pitches which received the most public votes since the competition launched in March. In total, over 2,500 pitches were submitted and over 550,000 votes cast.
People now have until 16 June to vote for their favourite pitch from the list of Semi-Finalists, whose ideas range from food, finance, extreme sports and social initiatives. The top nine will then pitch their business ideas, at the live Finale on 26 June, to Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Media Business Managing Director Peter Kelly and their panel of judges: Jon Oringer, Jo Malone, Justine Roberts and David Gandy. The winners will each win a slice of the £1 million prize fund up for grabs.
Peter Kelly, Managing Director of Virgin Media Business, said: “We are celebrating the creativity, ingenuity and acumen that exists in the UK and encouraging more budding entrepreneurs to confront their fears and go for it! We are backing today’s entrepreneurs so they can be a part of tomorrow’s success.
“Our 32 Semi-Finalists are from all corners of the UK, from Hampshire to the Highlands, and each and every one of them should feel incredibly proud. We wish them all the best as they look to secure votes to get through to the Finale.”
“The calibre of ideas that have been submitted to the Virgin Media Business Pitch to Rich competition is fantastic. It's clear that the UK is producing some brilliant entrepreneurs and we need to do all we can to support them. This has been a tough decision to make but for the Semi-Finalists the adventure continues.” Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Group Founder
The competition categories are:
Start-up: for exciting new businesses with huge potential.The winner gets £150,000 marketing support plus mentoring and help from Virgin StartUp’s professional business advisers for a year. Two runners-up receive £50,000 marketing support.
New Things: for big new ideas with the capacity to disrupt.The winner gets £50,000 cash towards development, plus mentoring from Virgin’s Investment Team. Two runners-up receive £10,000 each towards development.
Grow: for existing businesses that are ready to go big-time.The winner gets £250,000 marketing support, and two runners-up receive £100,000 marketing support.
All three category winners will also receive a full internet and fixed and mobile voice package from Virgin Media Business for 12 months, unlimited travel on Virgin Trains for 12 months, a place on the Accelerator Network programme (www.theacceleratornetwork.com/), a free package of pro bono advice from the ICAEW Business Advice Service (www.businessadviceserviceblog.com) and a membership to the not-for-profit private members club at The House of St Barnabas (www.hosb.org.uk).
Virgin Media Business Pitch to Rich 2015 was run in association with LinkedIn. Other partners include; Virgin Trains, Virgin StartUp, Seedcamp, Eventbrite, Accelerator Network, Shutterstock, ICAEW, House of St Barnabas, Npower, Prezi, i2i Events, Hailo, Second Home, LBC, Virgin Racing, Virgin Atlantic.
All those who voted in the semi-final stage will be entered into a draw to win a £10,000 cash prize.
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