This year’s Virgin Media Business VOOM took the UK business world by storm, encouraging entrepreneurs far and wide to pitch their business plan for the world to see. It’s always an inspiring and uplifting event, full of passion and drive, which creates a space to really showcase the future of business.
This year however, the competition added an extra layer introducing sub categories to enter, one of which was the Impact Award presented by Virgin Unite. After receiving 2,489 entrants – 62 per cent of the total – Holly Branson had the pleasure of announcing Lee Cole, founder of Paint360, as the winner. Having blown the judges away with his business plan, goals and pitch, Lee won a place on a Virgin Unite Leadership Gathering on Necker Island.
We caught up with Lee to hear about his experience of VOOM, his business and what he has planned next…
What does winning VOOM 2016 mean to you?
Firstly it is a massive confidence boost for both myself and my staff, especially considering the level of competition we were up against. Sir Richard is an incredible role model in business and I think a competition of this nature could only come from a company like Virgin. Necker Island is a once in a lifetime experience, but also learning from top professionals can only be a great thing.
How will the Impact Award impact you and your business?
The publicity has already kicked in with suppliers and customers alike. Receiving professional tutoring will be extremely beneficial on a business front and for me, personally. To be further associated with Virgin will hopefully make the public follow the trade and recognise that recycled products can be equal on quality and price with no stigma attached to them.
How did you hear about VOOM and what prompted you to enter the competition?
Our local Chamber of Commerce contact, Jayne Shields advised us of the competition and encouraged us to apply.
What gave you the idea to launch Paint360?
Having already sold products to construction, I knew there was a need for a quality paint that saved on carbon. My business partner, David Francis is a chemist with some considerable experience and has formulated the products – working hand-in-hand with trade people, on site. Thankfully Willmott Dixon Partnerships, specifically Dean Ryan, bought into the idea from the very start and the rest was history.
How is your product going to positively impact people and planet?
There are huge volumes of waste paint and paint pots either being sent to landfill or incinerated. Paint is very carbon intensive to make, using huge quantities of minerals and water. Processing raw minerals into a usable product for paint consumes huge volumes on energy. Recycling waste paint reduces the impact on the planet at both ends of the scale, and all of our customers say we tick not some but all of the boxes.
What’s next for you and your company?
We are looking to grow the waste paint volumes, as the appetite for our finished paint is growing daily. I have meetings organised with top construction/facility management companies who are keen to work with us and specifically our paint range. We also have opportunities to grow our waste transfer station network, which will expand the waste paint volumes circa fivefold in the next 12 months.