Three tips to launching a successful start-up from Jack Wills.

Jack Wills has 80 stores across the world, counts One Direction as fans and is recognized as one of Britain’s flagship brands. It must have built up its following over 50 years and had millions of pounds in funding at its disposal, right? Wrong. Britain’s iconic fashion retailer was set up in 1999 by two friends in Devon, just after they let university. We grabbed some time with co-founder and Pitch to Rich Judge 2014, Peter Williams who told us his tips to business success and revealed the three start-ups that’s caught his eye in the last year.  

Jack Wills, Virgin StartUp1

“Helping the next generation get started and drive forward their new ideas is a great privilege. I've already met lots of interesting and aspiring entrepreneurs as a speaker on the Virgin Hot House event series and joining the judging panel for Virgin Media's Pitch to Rich initiative seemed like a natural step in helping champion more new young startups” said Williams. “You can't put a price on this sort of networking opportunity for a new company. I wish I'd had the chance to pitch to Sir Richard!”

Top tips:

1.) It's not about the idea, its all about the execution.

2.) Believe in yourself - entrepreneurs often have an irrational self belief. If you do it by focus group, you'll never do it.

3.) Never ever, ever give up!

Three great new-ish businesses that I love:

1.) Hailo - totally disrupted and reinvented a stuck in the mud industry.

2.) Appliances Online - people get so animated about how great AO is, yet it sells such a dull product. (Washing machines, vacuum cleaners, etc)

3.) Kerbisher & Malt - doing to fish & chips what pret a manger did to sandwich shops.

Pitch to Rich

Pitch to Rich is the nationwide search to find the bets and most innovative entrepreneurs in the UK, offering you a once in a lifetime to win £5,000 to grow your business from Sir Richard Branson.

Enter online now until midday 7 April. From the initial applications five entrepreneurs will be short-listed for each award and asked to prepare pitch videos to face a public vote. The entrepreneurs with the most votes by 22nd April will then pitch to Sir Richard Branson himself and our panel of judges on 13th May at the Branson family home in Oxfordshire.

Last year’s Pitch to Rich competition was won by brothers Joshua and John Okungbaiye, founders of High Spirit, which makes theft-proof rucksacks.

To enter, or to find out more about Virgin Media Pioneers, go to or on Twitter @VMPioneers #Pitch2Rich or Facebook @VirginMediaPioneers.