Branson offers record £1m prize fund for Pitch 2 Rich 2015

Fourth year of nationwide competition which gives entrepreneurs the chance to pitch to the Virgin billionaire

Virgin Media Business has re-launched its nationwide Pitch 2 Rich competition for 2015, which will this year feature an unprecedented £1m business accelerator prize fund.

Sir Richard Branson announced the competition to find Britain’s most exciting and innovative businesses this evening in a three-minute television message on Channel 4.

The entrepreneur invited UK-based start-ups and innovators to pitch their ideas to him as he highlighted bravery and energy as defining characteristics of an entrepreneur.

The competition is the latest Virgin Media Business initiative to support the small and mid-sized enterprises that are vital to the country’s economy.

Branson, alongside a prestigious panel of judges will choose winners in three categories in a live final on June 26. The three categories are:

  • Start-up For exciting new businesses with huge potential. Winner receives £150,000 marketing support, mentoring and help from Virgin StartUp’s professional business advisers for a year. Two runners-up get £50,000 marketing support.
  • New Things For big, new, disruptive ideas. Winner gets £50,000 cash towards development, plus mentoring from Virgin’s Investment Team. Two runners-up receive £10,000 each fro development.
  • GrowFor existing businesses that are ready for major expansion. Winner gets £250,000 marketing support, and two runners-up receive £100,000 marketing support.

The winner in each three categories will also be awarded a full internet and fixed and mobile voice package from Virgin Media Business for 12 months, unlimited Virgin Train travel for 12 months, a place on the Accelerator Network programme, a free package of pro bono advice from the ICAEW Business Advice Service, and a membership to the not-for-profit private members club at The House of St Barnabas.

The People’s Choice will also award an additional £50,000 marketing support prize to the semi-finalist with the most votes.

Branson commented on the launch: “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.”

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