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Record £1 Million Branson Business Prize

Virgin Media Business (PR Newswire) - 24 March 2015

LONDON/PRNewswire/ --'#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.

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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."

Peter Kelly, Managing Director of Virgin Media Business, said: "Digital connectivity is playing a huge part in helping entrepreneurs build successful businesses, propelling the economy forward. Right now, great British businesses, like the thousands we work with, are seizing the opportunity that digital can have and shaking up their respective markets. Every strong economy needs game-changers and through Pitch to Rich we hope to inspire even more."

Peter Maxmin, Marketing Director, LinkedIn EMEA, said: "There is an incredible level of entrepreneurship and innovation on LinkedIn and this amazing competition gives our 17 million UK members a wonderful opportunity to display this entrepreneurial spirit on a global scale. LinkedIn offers great tools to showcase your experience and ideas, and provides a unique network through which to grow your business and drive support for your entry. We're thrilled to be part of the journey!"

#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.

Interested businesses and individuals should register their interest at

About Virgin Media Business

Virgin Media Business is the largest business-to-business Virgin brand and part of the Virgin Media group, the UK's first provider of all four broadband, TV, mobile phone and home phone services. The division prides itself on delivering innovative, high quality solutions that break down the barriers facing UK organisations today.

Businesses and public sector organisations around the country are using the Virgin Media Business network and skilled service teams to deliver far more than just high speed connectivity.

Staff are located at 40 offices across the country, meaning Virgin Media Business really is closer to its customers. Organisations working with Virgin Media Business include Knight Frank, Telefonica, London Grid for Learning, Hampshire Fire and Rescue and Cambridge County Council.

It has the UK's only nationwide fibre optic network, carrying 35 per cent of all business broadband traffic and is already able to reach 85 per cent of businesses in the UK.

Virgin Media is a part of Liberty Global plc, the world's largest international cable company. Together Virgin Media and Liberty Global serve 27 million customers across 14 countries, helping connect people to the digital world and enabling them to discover and experience its endless possibilities.

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SOURCE Virgin Media Business