Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Media Business set to make the UK VOOM
2 May 2017
- Sir Richard Branson launches the first ever Voom Tour, taking the national competition on the road to find the best new business ideas
- The Voom Bus will visit communities across the UK and Ireland over the next six months
- Sir Richard Branson hits the switch that sends Voom Fibre live
Today Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Media Business launch Voom Pitch, the UK and Ireland’s biggest pitching competition. For the first time since the competition’s conception in 2011, it will take to the road, travelling across the UK and Ireland, in search of the UK’s next great business ideas and inspiring budding entrepreneurs along the way.
To give small businesses across the UK the connectivity they need and deserve, Sir Richard Branson, at today’s event, will also switch on Virgin Media Business’ latest and most disruptive broadband product – Voom Fibre.
New research from Virgin Media Business, to coincide with Voom Pitch and the Voom Tour 2017, comes at a pivotal time in the UK as it shows that almost two in five people (38%) think they’ve had a great idea for a new business. However, more than 7 in 10 of this group – the equivalent of over 13.8 million people - suffer from ‘business diffidence’ and haven’t done anything with their idea due to a fear of failure.
Half the respondents who didn’t turn their ideas into reality saw a lack of funding as their main obstacle, followed by 37% who cited a lack of confidence preventing them from realising their dreams.
To help these 13.8 million UK residents unleash their business, Virgin Group Founder, Sir Richard Branson, said: “The Voom Bus is going on tour to seek out brilliant British entrepreneurs and to help them break down the business barriers in their way.
“We’re bringing the Voom Tour into communities and challenging people to put aside their fears and pitch their business ideas as we travel across the UK.”
“The Voom Tour is a fantastic way for people to get started on what could be the most significant journey of their business life.”
The Voom Tour
Over the next six months the Voom Tour schedule will include Belfast, Birmingham, Cardiff, Dublin, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, Newcastle and Winchester.
Virgin Media Business is looking for local people with the courage to pitch their business idea at each tour stop, giving them the chance to win a regional prize of £5,000 and one of ten chances to meet and receive advice from Sir Richard Branson. Experts from partners including Virgin StartUp will also be on hand to provide valuable expertise, help and advice on how to launch and scale a start-up.
The national competition will return in the March 2018 and will again provide the chance to win a share of £1 million in prizes
For more details on the tour and for anyone with a great business idea, who wants to register to pitch at their local event, they should visit virginmediabusiness.co.uk/voom.
With Voom Fibre, which is available from today, new and existing business customers will be eligible to receive ultrafast download speeds of up to 350Mbps as standard. A range of additional options, including increased upload speeds and support are also available. Prices start from £30 per month, with two additional options priced at £40 and £55 per month.
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Notes to editors
About the research
Research was conducted online by Opinium between 14th and 18th April 2017, among 2,004 nationally representative UK adults.
When asked if they had what they thought was a great idea for a new business, 38% of respondents said yes. There are 51,339,000 adults in the UK (source: ONS), therefore 19,508,820 adults have had a great new business idea. Of this group, 71% didn’t turn their idea into a business. Therefore 13,851,262 people have had a great business idea but didn’t turn it into a reality.
Voom Tour 2017
The Voom Tour 2017 will visit regional centres across the UK and will include ten Voom Pitch competition stops, introduction to Voom Fibre and business networking opportunities. Virgin Media Business would like to thank its Voom Tour partners LinkedIn, JCDecaux, ICAEW, Crowdfunder and Virgin StartUp.
Voom Tour 2017 Partners
The UK's #1 crowdfunding platform, Crowdfunder is all about putting the #VOOM into fundraising and awareness for great ideas. And they give Voom Pitch entrants the chance to raise money while they canvas votes. The team are hitting the road to share their know-how, spreading the word about creating brilliant crowdfunding campaigns, gaining validation to take ideas from a light-bulb moment and making it happen through the power of the crowd.
ICAEW is committed to helping companies like #VOOM by providing entrepreneurs with free professional support and guidance through our Business Advice Service. Our ICAEW Chartered Accountants advise over 1.5 million businesses across the UK and will be available at stops on the tour to support entrepreneurial businesses aiming to grow and develop. As leading financial experts, a qualified chartered accountant can help you with all your business issues, from managing your cash flow to accessing the right funding solution for your business, to ensure that your business succeeds.
Virgin StartUp is a not-for-profit arm of the Virgin Group spearheading the group’s entrepreneurial philosophy; providing government-backed start-up Loans, one-to-one mentoring and business advice to thousands of businesses across England and Scotland.
Virgin StartUp is joining the Voom Tour 2017 to provide valuable expertise, help and advice on how to launch and scale a start-up. They will be providing expert judges for the pitching competitions as well as first class business advisors to support the one to one sessions with budding entrepreneurs.
The UK's number one out-of-home advertising company is also part of the world's leading outdoor advertising company.
LinkedIn are delighted to be supporting VOOM again, and particularly excited this year as the competition goes on tour for the first time. Participating in the VOOM bus tour allows us to meet LinkedIn members all over the UK, encouraging and helping budding entrepreneurs to foster professional relationships and engage with likeminded individuals. A professional network can make all the difference in bringing a business idea to life and with 23 million members in the UK, LinkedIn can connect you with the right people to do just that.
Voom Pitch (previously VOOM 2016)
Voom Pitch is the new name for the national pitching competition and the new regional competitions. Both the national and regional competition gives entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized businesses the opportunity to pitch their ideas to expert judges and win prize money and business promotion opportunities. The national competition will be judged by Richard Branson and there will be opportunity to win a slice of a prize fund worth over £1million and will take place in March 2018. Voom Pitch, the regional competition, will be part of The Voom Tour and there will be chance to win a slice of a prize fund worth £50,000 and takes place in communities across the UK between May and Nov 2017.
Voom Fibre product information
For more information about Voom Fibre, businesses can visit www.virginmediabusiness.co.uk/voom
About Virgin Media Business
We provide internet, data and telephone services to UK businesses and the public sector. We have more than 50,000 customers, most of which are small and medium enterprises. We also partner with the public sector: with local councils and thousands of schools to improve connectivity in communities and support learning, and with the emergency services to enable them to efficiently perform their life-saving skills.
We’re part of the Virgin Media group, the UK’s first provider of all four broadband, TV, mobile phone and home phone services. Virgin Media is a part of Liberty Global, the world’s largest international cable company. Together Virgin Media and Liberty Global serve more than 59 million subscribers in more than 30 countries - connecting people to the digital world and enabling them to discover and experience its endless possibilities.
The company’s dedicated, ultrafast network delivers the fastest widely available broadband speeds to homes and businesses. We’re expanding this through our £3 billion Project Lightning programme, which will result in a total of 17 million premises connected to our network.
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