Over the last 14 weeks, VOOM 2016 has been in full swing – from a World Record-breaking 29-hour pitchathon, to launching new special award categories, it has been incredible to see the level of talent, drive and commitment people have for business.

The final is here tomorrow morning, and will see six finalists pitch to a judging panel consisting of my Dad (Richard Branson), Tyra Banks, Marcus Butler, Sara Blakely and Peter Kelly

Virgin Unite, Pitch to Rich, VOOM 2016

As I mentioned, this year introduced four special award categories – one of which is the Impact Award, presented by Virgin Unite. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some truly inspiring people through VOOM 2016, who have amazing business brains. Being aware of how you do business and the impact your business has on the world is a great responsibility, and more importantly a great opportunity.

There are just three finalists for this category – beating over 3,000 other businesses to make it to this stage – and I think you’ll agree, they’re all rather special.

Virgin Unite, VOOM, Impact Award

This company re-engineers waste paint into quality paint, for social housing or facility management. It is estimated the UK generates 50 million litres of waste paint every year. Each litre of Paint360  saves enough carbon to drive a van for five miles. 80 per cent of the product is made from recycled paint, and the company has put a lot of work into quantifying their impact.
My fellow judges and I loved the fact Paint 360 is a circular economy business model, looking to address a global problem and make a clear and measurable impact.

Initiated with the aim to help young children learn to make choices, share, listen, observe and problem solve, Creative Station has gone from  success to success since its inception in 2002.
Thanks to the hard work of its colleague base and founder Sarah Cressall – a mum of three and was looking for ways to inspire her children’s creative side and encourage discovery through their unique creative potential – the business is now in 97 locations across the UK and Ireland. As a mother of twin babes, I feel that this business idea is particularly impactful.

In the UK, 56 per cent of waste plastic goes to landfill. MacRebur is aiming to change this by using waste to fix one of Britain’s biggest bug bears – the pothole!
The company has developed and patented a road design, which is 60 per cent stronger than tradition asphalt, created using a technique that mixes waste plastic – bags, bottles, film wrapping and cups – with bitumen. Two birds, one stone, and super impactful! 

Virgin Unite, VOOM, Creation Station

I’m so excited to be a part of the judging panel tomorrow, and with such brilliant finalists, I have no doubt it’s going to be a great day. As my Dad says, “The best advice I could give anyone is to spend your time working on whatever you are passionate about in life.” 

I can’t think of a better example of people doing just that, so please tune in the action and show your support on social media using #VOOM. We’ll be live streaming from the ITV studios tomorrow from 10.45am on virgin.com.

Good luck to everyone taking part!