16 June 2015
TOP BUSINESSES A FINAL STEP AWAY FROM £1M PITCH TO RICH PRIZE
Over 675,000 votes cast as nine businesses progress to the finale of Virgin Media Business' entrepreneur competition
After an extensive nationwide search, nine innovative and exciting new businesses have worked their way to the top of the leader board to reach the final stage of the Virgin Media Business Pitch to Rich competition.
The group of entrepreneurs and innovators will now pitch their business ideas to Sir Richard Branson and a panel of expert judges during a live finale on 26 June.
Voted into the final stage of the competition by the public, the nine cutting edge businesses – three from each competition category – will pitch for their chance to win a share of the £1m prize fund to grow their businesses.
Peter Kelly, Managing Director of Virgin Media Business, said: “We’ve seen some incredible people and business ideas throughout this competition and they should be very proud of what they have achieved.
“It’s a particularly exciting time for our finalists. The prize the winners will receive will give their businesses the chance to truly accelerate to the next level and become an established name. A huge congratulations to all of them, I’m really looking forward to hearing their final pitches.”
The Pitch to Rich finalists include some of Britain’s most talented business brains, from technology start-ups to entrepreneurs whose ideas aim to inspire and educate the next generation.
The final nine businesses have been whittled down from over 2,500 competition entrants. The overall winners for each category will now be decided during the Finale, which will take place at Second Home, the Tech City start-up hub offering mentorship for new businesses and entrepreneurs.
Judging the pitches alongside Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Media Business Managing Director, Peter Kelly, will be business experts; Jo Malone, David Gandy, Justine Roberts and Jon Oringer.
Semi-Finalists that did not make the final are still in the running for the ‘People’s Choice’ award, with public voting open until the 22nd June.
“We set out to find great business ideas with the potential to disrupt a market and judging by the calibre of the finalists, we have found the very best. The people that make a difference are the ones that have the courage to overcome obstacles in order to turn an idea into a successful business. The level of passion among the Virgin Media Business Pitch to Rich entrants has been inspiring, and the finale will be testament to that.” Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Group Founder
Kino-mo: a hi-tech advertising media developer which aims to make holograms an affordable and available solution. The state-of-the-art technology allows 3D graphics to appear to float in mid-air. Based in London.
Hegarty Maths: an inspired online learning tool, Hegarty Maths gives disadvantaged children access to quality maths tutoring and education. Based in London, it aims to become the go-to website for students aged 8-17 for maths teaching across the world
Cauli Rice: the first long-life, ready-to-heat version of the global diet phenomenon, cauliflower rice. Based in London, Cauli Rice is a low carbohydrate replacement to rice, bread and pasta, with 75% fewer calories
Fourex: aims to revolutionise the way we exchange currency, using self-service machines that will exchange both coins and notes from almost any country in the world for cash. Based in London.
The Skunkworks Surfboard Company: plans to create robust, high-performance soft surfboards and stand-up-paddleboards that are environmentally friendly, based in County Antrim.
Sendy: a revolutionary P2P parcel delivery app that lets you send any item to anywhere in the world quickly and cheaply. Based in London, Sendy provides a competitive alternative to big-name courier services.
JustPark: taking parking into the digital era, the JustPark app and website gives drivers access to over 150,000 parking spaces by connecting them with property owners looking to make money from their underused spaces. Based in London.
Aduna: an Africa-inspired health and beauty brand and social business, creating a market for the African superfruit, Baobab. As an icon of the African savannah, Baobab could be worth a billion dollars to rural Africa. Based in London
Approved Food: an online grocer specialising in a wide range of stock from household goods to kitchen cupboard essentials, some of which is nearing or past its best-before-date. Based in Yorkshire, Approved Foods offers customers huge savings on their shop
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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