Behind the numbers 2014: Pioneers

6th July 2015

Grow the Pioneers community by one third to 8,000 members.

How we did:
By the end of 2014 the Virgin Media Pioneers community had grown by a third to reach a total of 8,163 members.

The detail:
We’re using digital technology to support the next generation of entrepreneurs. Virgin Media Pioneers creates opportunities for young entrepreneurs to share their ideas and learn from each other and established business experts to help them get their businesses off the ground. In 2014, the Virgin Media Pioneers community grew by 2,044 new members, taking the total to 8,163 members in 2014. This exceeded the goal we’d set ourselves.

Along with growing the community, we also focused on providing valuable opportunities to our Pioneers, including;

  • NYC Trade Mission: Collaborating with Enterprise Nation in 2014 meant we could offer two UK companies an exciting networking visit to New York – an opportunity to expand their business overseas. Both Virgin Media Pioneers were given support throughout the trip, attended investment and partnership meetings, viewings of co-working spaces in Manhattan and Brooklyn and received pitch training and advice from entrepreneurs who’ve successfully expanded to the US.
  • Pitch to Rich: In 2014 the annual competition for aspiring entrepreneurs to pitch to a panel of prestigious judges received 400 entries. Alongside Sir Richard Branson the judging panel in 2014 comprised Nick Jenkins, founder of Moonpig; Holly Tucker, co-founder of Not on the High Street; Peter Williams, co-founder of Jack Wills; and Dina Toki-O, up and coming digital influencer and fashion YouTuber. 2014 winners were Igor Rubets, 36, founder of Boxhug, which won the Start Up Award, presented in partnership with Virgin StartUp, for businesses in their first 12 months of trading; and Carl Thomas, 30, founder of miPic, which won the Innovation Award for his successfully-trading, small technology business. Winning pitches were heard at the Branson family home in Oxfordshire.

In 2014 we also carried out a social impact report to understand the demographic of Pioneers and their businesses, how Pioneers use digital technology and how the community has helped Pioneers to get inspired, get connected and get ahead. We found that:

  • All together, the Pioneers contributed  over £6million to the UK economy in 2014.
  • More than half of all Pioneers say that the community has given them direction and a sense of purpose as well as strengthened their ambition.
  • The average annual turnover among trading Pioneer businesses has doubled since 2013, to £75,305/annum. This is higer than the average estimated turnover of UK SMEs (approx. £67,300).

Virgin Media Pioneers forms a key part of our new Boosting Businesses goal, find out more here.

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