Record £1 million Branson business prize launched

#VOOM: Pitch to Rich 2015 from Virgin Media Business offers business-changing opportunity for UK entrepreneurs to pitch to Sir Richard Branson

Virgin Media Business has launched a nationwide competition, with an unprecedented £1million business accelerator prize fund, to find the country’s most exciting and innovative businesses.

richard branson

In an intimate three minute television message, first broadcast on Channel 4 on Tuesday evening, Sir Richard Branson cited bravery as the defining characteristic of an entrepreneur. He invited start-ups and innovators from across the UK to pitch their ideas to him in Virgin Media Business’s “#VOOM: Pitch to Rich 2015”, in association with the world’s largest professional network, LinkedIn.

The competition is the latest Virgin Media Business initiative to support small, growing UK businesses – the disproportionate drivers of the national economy. This has included the introduction of specifically-designed broadband services and the creation of free expert resources to help entrepreneurs make the most of the opportunities created by the digital world.

Throughout #VOOM: Pitch to Rich 2015, Virgin Media Business will highlight the success of thousands of UK businesses. Stories, videos and news from Sir Richard Branson, the judging panel and participating businesses will be published regularly on LinkedIn, to inspire start-ups to develop their great ideas and become a success.

Winners in each of the three categories will be chosen by the Virgin founder, along with a prestigious team of judges, in a live final on the 26th June:

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 (​), a free package of pro bono advice from the ICAEW Business Advice Service ( and a membership to the not-for-profit private members club at The House of St Barnabas (

One more £50,000 marketing support prize will be awarded to the semi-finalist with the most votes at the end – the People’s Choice.

Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Group Founder, said, “Launching a business can be challenging and, at times, overwhelming. But entrepreneurs shouldn’t let this hold them back from achieving their full potential. Pitch to Rich is a brilliant opportunity for UK businesses to make their mark on a global stage. If you think your business has great potential, then enter Pitch to Rich today, as you never know where it may lead you.”

#VOOM: Pitch to Rich 2015 builds on the work of Virgin Media Pioneers, the online community for entrepreneurs, and follows the success of last year’s Three New Things, a competition held by Virgin Media Business to unearth three new technologies with the power to change the way we live and work for good.

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