After an extensive nationwide search, nine innovative and exciting new businesses have worked their way to the top of the leader board to reach the final stage of the Virgin Media Business Pitch to Rich competition.
The group of entrepreneurs and innovators will now pitch their business ideas to Sir Richard Branson and a panel of expert judges during a live finale on 26 June.
Voted into the final stage of the competition by the public, the nine cutting edge businesses – three from each competition category – will pitch for their chance to win a share of the £1m prize fund to grow their businesses.
Peter Kelly, Managing Director of Virgin Media Business, said: “We’ve seen some incredible people and business ideas throughout this competition and they should be very proud of what they have achieved.
“It’s a particularly exciting time for our finalists. The prize the winners will receive will give their businesses the chance to truly accelerate to the next level and become an established name. A huge congratulations to all of them, I’m really looking forward to hearing their final pitches.”
The Pitch to Rich finalists include some of Britain’s most talented business brains, from technology start-ups to entrepreneurs whose ideas aim to inspire and educate the next generation.
The finalists are:
Kino-Mo: a hi-tech advertising media developer which aims to make holograms an affordable and available solution. The state-of-the-art technology allows 3D graphics to appear to float in mid-air. Based in London.
Hegarty Maths: an inspired online learning tool, Hegarty Maths gives disadvantaged children access to quality maths tutoring and education. Based in London, it aims to become the go-to website for students aged 8-17 for maths teaching across the world
Cauli Rice: the first long-life, ready-to-heat version of the global diet phenomenon, cauliflower rice. Based in London, Cauli Rice is a low carbohydrate replacement to rice, bread and pasta, with 75 per cent fewer calories
Fourex: aims to revolutionise the way we exchange currency, using self-service machines that will exchange both coins and notes from almost any country in the world for cash. Based in London
The Skunkworks Surfboard Company: plans to create robust, high-performance soft surfboards and stand-up-paddleboards that are environmentally friendly, based in County Antrim
Sendy: a revolutionary P2P parcel delivery app that lets you send any item to anywhere in the world quickly and cheaply. Based in London, Sendy provides a competitive alternative to big-name courier services
Aduna: an Africa-inspired health and beauty brand and social business, creating a market for the African superfruit, Baobab. As an icon of the African savannah, Baobab could be worth a billion dollars to rural Africa. Based in London
Approved Food: an online grocer specialising in a wide range of stock from household goods to kitchen cupboard essentials, some of which is nearing or past its best-before-date. Based in Yorkshire, Approved Foods offers customers huge savings on their shop
Just Park: taking parking into the digital era, the JustPark app and website gives drivers access to over 150,000 parking spaces by connecting them with property owners looking to make money from their underused spaces. Based in London.
Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Group Founder, said: “We set out to find great business ideas with the potential to disrupt a market and judging by the calibre of the finalists, we have found the very best. The people that make a difference are the ones that have the courage to overcome obstacles in order to turn an idea into a successful business. The level of passion among the Virgin Media Business Pitch to Rich entrants has been inspiring, and the finale will be testament to that.”
The final nine businesses have been whittled down from over 2,500 competition entrants. The overall winners for each category will now be decided during the Finale, which will take place at Second Home, the Tech City start-up hub offering mentorship for new businesses and entrepreneurs.
Judging the pitches alongside Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Media Business Managing Director, Peter Kelly, will be business experts; Jo Malone, David Gandy, Justine Roberts and Jon Oringer.
Semi-Finalists that did not make the final are still in the running for the ‘People’s Choice’ award, with public voting open until the 22nd June.