Virgin Media Pioneers begin their search for the best new business once again, with start-ups offered the chance to pitch ideas to the Virgin Founder...
This year there are two chances for innovators to Pitch to Rich and a panel of prestigious judges. The winning prize package for each award includes £5,000 of investment plus mentoring, including legal, branding and marketing advice, as well as an opportunity for the winners to build their network and raise their profile in order to further their prospects.
The call for written entries opens today and five entrepreneurs will be short-listed for each award and asked to prepare pitch videos to face a public vote. The entrepreneurs with the most votes by April 22nd will then pitch for money-can’t buy advice and support on May 13th at the Branson family home in Oxfordshire.
The Start Up Award, In partnership with Virgin StartUp, the award is for businesses in their first 12 months of trading. It is open to entrepreneurs with any type of early stage business that meets the Government Start Up Loans scheme criteria. Every entrant in England will also be supported in an application to seek funding and a business mentor with the newly formed Virgin StartUp not-for-profit organisation.
The Innovation Award is for successfully trading small technology businesses looking to make the next leap forward. The winner will be offered free enrolment to the Accelerator Academy – an established 12-week, high-growth training and mentoring programme for ambitious digital entrepreneurs with training, mentoring free workspace and access to capital. All semi-finalists will receive an HP tablet to help them manage their businesses.
“Starting a business with very little capital is something I can relate to but with a little backing early on and the right idea, anything is possible. I’m looking forward to meeting more of Britain’s best young entrepreneurs through the Start Up Award,” explained Branson. "The Innovation Award is about propelling the next great British tech business forward so we’re looking for disruptive businesses who could one day give Silicon Valley a run for their money.”
Founded by Virgin Media in 2010, the free peer-to-peer network supports more than 6,000 young people, providing mentoring, advice and unique business opportunities. To find out more, head over to the Virgin Media Pioneers website.
Alternatively, you can see how last year’s event went by clicking here.