Virgin Media Business today launches the search to identify the most innovative and exciting small and medium sized businesses in the UK and Ireland as Voom Pitch 2018 opens for entries.

Voom Pitch 2018 is on track to be bigger and better than ever.  Global brands, including PayPal and PwC, have come on board and will be bringing their expertise to find and support the UK and Ireland’s most talented up and coming businesses.

This year the competition will open up to more established small and medium sized businesses as well as to start-ups, with two entry categories: Scale & Grow and Spark & Start-up.  As well as the cash prize, entrants can win an out of home advertising campaign from JCDecaux and a first-stage funding programme from G by Grant Thornton.  Additional awards and prizes from Voom Pitch 2018 partners, that will help winning businesses take things to the next level, will be unveiled shortly.

Paul Farrell, Vice President of Commercial at Virgin media said: “Voom Pitch (2018) is back with a bang and is open to Irish entrepreneurs who have what they think it takes to make it to the final and pitch their business idea to Richard Branson for a share of the prize fund worth over €1.1million.  We’re looking for the most disruptive, original business ideas to bring to the table at this year’s Voom Pitch competition and fly the flag for Ireland in what is one of the biggest pitching competitions of its kind.”

“We’ve had strong representation in 2016 where seven of the top 40 companies in the competition came from Ireland, and we want to increase on that success this year.” He added.

Existing partner – the UK’s number 1 crowdfunding platform – will again provide entrants with the option to run a crowdfunding campaign alongside their pitch entry.  In 2016 Voom entrants raised over €4.4million (£4million) in crowdfunding during the public voting process.

Voom Finalists will get to pitch their ideas to Richard Branson at the Voom Pitch Grand Final in London on 23rd May and win a slice of a prize fund worth over €1.1million.  Entrants will first have to get through online public voting and semi-final heats, to be held in Manchester, where they will pitch to senior business figures.

“In 2017 we took Voom on tour across the UK & Ireland and shone a spotlight on many local business heroes,” said Richard Branson. “This year the national competition is back, bigger and better than ever. I can’t wait to help find this year’s Voom Pitch 2018 winners and help them reach their full potential.”

Last Year, Coroflo, a Dublin-based medtech firm that has developed the world’s first accurate breastfeeding monitor, was crowned winner of the Dublin Voom Pitch Tour heat and walked away with €6,000 and an exclusive lunch with Richard Branson. In 2016, Irish start-up FoodCloud reached the final pitch of VOOM in front of Richard Branson finishing with a fantastic second place, securing the company €25,000, a Virgin Media Business broadband package, mentoring and brand support.

Previous winners have benefited from increased public awareness and new connections, partnerships and collaborations they’ve built through the competition.

Businesses can enter Voom Pitch 2018 at  between 7 March and 8 May 2018.  Pitches will be open to public voting, with the top 40 pitches from each of the two categories going through to semi-final heats in Manchester.  Six finalists will go on to pitch live to celebrity judges, including Sir Richard Branson, for the chance to win a share of over €1.1m in prizes at the final in May.



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