Virgin founder Richard Branson has launched a competition where start-ups and innovators can pitch their ideas for a £1m business accelerator prize fund.
The nationwide competition called “#VOOM: Pitch to Rich 2015” has been launched in association with LinkedIn and aims to uncover the UK’s most innovative businesses.
Throughout the competition, stories, videos and news from the judging panel and Branson will be published on LinkedIn to encourage other start-ups to get their ideas out there.
There are three categories within the competition, and the winners will be selected by Branson and the judging panel during a live final on the 26th June.
The first category will be start-ups; for new businesses excited to get their project off the ground with a prize fund of 150,000 marketing support, plus mentoring and help from Virgin Startup’s professional business advisors. The runners up in this category will receive £50,000 in marketing support.
The second category is called New Things; aimed at big new ideas with the capacity to disrupt. The winner for this category receives £50,000 cash towards development, plus mentoring from Virgin’s investment team. Two runners up in this category will receive £10,000 each towards development.
‘Grow’ is the title of the third category for existing businesses that are ready to hit the big time. The winner receives £250,000 marketing support and the two runners up receive £100,000 in marketing support.
The winners from each category also receive an internet and fixed mobile package for 12 months with unlimited travel on Virgin trains for 12 months.
There’s also a category called ‘People’s choice’ where £50,000 marketing support will be awarded to the semi-finalist with the most votes.
Richard Branson 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.”
Managing director at Virgin Media Business Peter Kelly added: “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.”