5th April 2016
Online public voting for Virgin Media Business’ VOOM 2016 pitch competition opens today. A fortnight since the competition launched, more than 300 businesses have applied from around the country with 900 applications currently being completed. Applications are accepted until 10th May through www.vmbvoom.com.
Applicants to the UK and Ireland’s biggest and most valuable pitch competition have been urged to now galvanise support and interest in their business as the 160 businesses who receive the most public votes over the next seven weeks will take part in a ‘pitchathon’ held in London on the 1st and 2ndof June. Public voting ends on the 23rd May.
An analysis of interest received so far can be found in the notes to editors.
Last year more than 2,600 applications were received in total with over 750,000 votes cast. Pitches included an eclectic mix of ideas from a five star dog hotel and stick-shaped teabags to a hologram developer and self-service currency exchange machines.
Peter Kelly, Managing Director of Virgin Media Business said: “The response to Virgin Media Business VOOM 2016 has been incredible. The businesses that have already applied can now start ramping up the noise and getting those public votes. But it’s not too late for those who haven’t yet joined us. Whether you’re an entrepreneur with a gem of an idea or an existing business that wants to get the boost you deserve VOOM 2016 is your chance to make the leap.
“If last year’s entrants are anything to go by I am looking forward to hearing countless innovative and inspiring ideas over the next six weeks.”
Richard Branson said: “Over 1,200 of the best and the brightest businesses from across the UK and Ireland have already registered for Virgin Media Business’ VOOM 2016. They are now waiting on everyone to get voting.
“Don’t let your city be left behind in the pitch stakes. Manchester is currently well ahead of Liverpool and Leeds, and Nottingham isn’t even in the running yet. My wife Joan, a proud Glaswegian, will also be pleased to hear that its streets seem to be paved with more business plans than Edinburgh's.
“VOOM 2016 is about shouting, loud and proud about how entrepreneurial your city is. Get your pitches in today, start campaigning for those votes and crown your city ‘Britain’s most entrepreneurial’. Today's the day to show your support and use your vote! You never know, we could be meeting on 28th June.”
As well as working hard to secure public support, businesses will be offered the chance to run a crowdfunding campaign through Crowdfunder on top of their competition entry. This means that businesses can potentially walk away with a crowdfunded cash injection and a bigger profile even if they don’t make it all of the way.
Last year’s success stories
The submissions so far suggest that this year will be no less diverse than last when 18% of pitches were about technology, 17% involved businesses for parents, 11.5% were food or drink based and 13% focused on sustainability and social good.
The competition has the potential to change lives – and not just for the winners. Even businesses that don’t make it through to the final of VOOM 2016 stand to benefit from the exposure gained during the competition.
Last year the Roccbox portable stone bake oven reached the semi-final and has had 1800 orders since launching in March. The firm has also gained investment of almost £600,000 through crowd funding.
What3Words, a unique mapping tool that uses words to pinpoint locations anywhere on earth, has also seen success. Since launching in 2013, and with the help of publicity during VOOM 2015, the company has raised a total of £3.5m in funding. Millions of people in developing countries without an address now stand to benefit from finally being “on grid”.
Analysis of applications and vmbvoom.com website visits
The data below is made up of analysis on the applications received so far and also data for visits to vmbvoom.com.
Top cities by vmbvoom.com visits
Top visits to vmbvoom.com by country
Top cities by completed applications submitted (more than 300 completed to date)
City comparisons – website visits to pitch application %
Grand finale and prizes
Richard Branson, Peter Kelly, and a distinguished team of judges will pick a winner in each of the two categories - ‘Start-up’ and ‘Grow’ - at a live finale on 28th June 2016.
The two winners will receive:
In addition, two runners-up from each category will each receive a cash prize of £20,000, a Virgin Media Business broadband package, mentoring, financial advice and brand support.
Public voting opens today until 23rd May 2016. Votes can be cast at www.vmbvoom.com.
The 160 businesses with the most public votes will make it through to the pitchathon in London.
On top of that Virgin Media Business will offer 12 roles to LinkedIn UK members where they can apply to be ‘Professionals’ to help choose which VOOM 2016 entries make it through to the finale as well as providing professional mentoring and support for those finalists.