The Pitch to Rich campaign will reveal thousands of British business success stories throughout its duration, while stories, videos and news from Branson and involved companies will be shared on LinkedIn to inspire startups to develop new ideas.
Branson, said: “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.”
There are three categories to enter and the winner of each one will be chosen by Branson and a panel of “prestigious” judges in a live final on 26 June.
Startup: for exciting new businesses with huge potential
The winner will receive £150,000 worth marketing support, and mentoring and help from Virgin StartUp’s business advisers for a year. Two runners-up will receive £50,000 marketing support each.
New Things: for big new ideas with the capacity to disrupt
The winner will receive £50,000 cash towards development, as well as mentoring from Virgin’s investment team. Two runners-up will secure £10,000 each for development.
Grow: for existing businesses that are ready to go big-time.
The winner will receive £250,000 worth of marketing support, and two runners-up will receive £100,000 marketing support.
Additionally, all three winners of the categories will receive:
- A full internet and fixed mobile package from Virgin Media Business for a year
- Unlimited travel on Virgin Trains
- A place on the Accelerator Network programme
- A free package of advice from the ICAEW Business Advice Service
- Membership to the private members club at The House of St Barnabas
Lastly, a People’s Choice award will go to the semi-finalist with the most votes at the end, arriving in the form of £50,000 in marketing support.
Branson has been particularly outspoken in the build up to the launch of Pitch to Rich, most recently discussing the skills gap when he said: “Britain is a digital leader, however our businesses will fall behind if students leave school without vital digital skills.”
Read more on Richard Branson:
- How Richard Branson’s countless hair-raising adventures have helped him bounce back in business
- Richard Branson rallies SMEs as funding woes prevent British business idea development
- Government-commissioned sharing economy report endorsed by Richard Branson
Peter Kelly, MD of Virgin Media Business, said: “Digital connectivity is playing a huge part in helping entrepreneurs build successful businesses, propelling the economy forward. Right now, great British businesses, like the thousands we work with, are seizing the opportunity that digital can have and shaking up their respective markets. Every strong economy needs game-changers and through Pitch to Rich we hope to inspire even more.”
Peter Maxmin, marketing director, LinkedIn EMEA, added: “There is an incredible level of entrepreneurship and innovation on LinkedIn and this amazing competition gives our 17 million UK members a wonderful opportunity to display this entrepreneurial spirit on a global scale. We’re thrilled to be part of the journey.”
Interested businesses and individuals can register their interest at http://www.pitchtorich.co.uk.