Two Virgin StartUp businesses make the Pitch to Rich shortlist!
We’re thrilled to announce that the shortlist for #VOOM Pitch to Rich has been announced – and that two out of eleven businesses in the ‘Startup’ category are businesses that received a Virgin StartUp loan.
The 32 semi-finalists were whittled down from the 250 that received the most public votes by a judging panel searching for the best and brightest businesses. In fact the standard was so high that an extra two places were included – now that’s a sign of tough competition!
Drum roll please - the Virgin StartUp-funded businesses that have made the shortlist are:
Lisa Sohanpal and her co-founder each received £25,000 to start up Mini Nom Nom's - a business creating delicious and nutritious world food-inspired ready meals for children. After becoming frustrated by how difficult it was to find easy and healthy meals for her children, Lisa decided to create her own range. The meals are free of added salt, sugar and preservatives, teach children about different cultures, and each meal also helps feed a child in India. Since starting up, Mini Nom Nom’s have won a contract to be stocked in Ocado from July, three awards at this year’s IFE Food Innovation Awards, and will be appearing at Jamie Oliver’s Big Feastival.
Radha Vyas received £25,000 from us to start up boutique holiday agency The Flash Pack. Remember that selfie taken by a man stood on top of the 38-metre tall statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio De Janeiro? That man was her co-founder Lee Thompson, and that photo catapulted their business to overnight success, turning them into an international business within days. Lee and Radha knew there was a gap in the market for a tour agency that would explore the roads less travelled and the most thrilling global destinations – and they determined to do it with bagfuls of style, luxury, and good company.
These businesses and the other semi-finalists now have until 16th June to win votes from the public again, which will whittle their numbers down further to three in each category. The top nine will then pitch their businesses to Richard Branson, Virgin Media Business Managing Director Peter Kelly and as panel of judges that includes Oringer, Jo Malone, Justine Roberts and David Gandy, in a nail-biting finale on the 26th of June. With a £1 million prize fund up for grabs, it’s truly the chance of a lifetime.
Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Group Founder, said: “The calibre of ideas that have been submitted to the Virgin Media Business Pitch to Rich competition is fantastic. It's clear that the UK is producing some brilliant entrepreneurs and we need to do all we can to support them. This has been a tough decision to make but for the Semi-Finalists the adventure continues.”
At Virgin StartUp we’re really proud of these businesses for making it so far – and not only is this brilliant news for the businesses, but it’s an impressive endorsement for how Virgin StartUp support can help SMEs achieve their full potential.
Head over to the Pitch to Rich website to vote and show your support – and good luck to the shortlisted businesses!