Rich pitching

Rich pitching

Virgin launches Pitch to rich startup contest with Linkedin

Virgin Media Business is partnering with LinkedIn to launch the #VOOM: Pitch to Rich 2015 initiative, with ‘Rich’ being Virgin chief Richard Branson, writes Steve Mullins. Virgin Media and LinkedIn are on the look-out for new business ideas across three categories – ‘grow’, ‘new things’ and ‘start-up’ – and those coming up with the best 150-word elevator pitches (along with pitch video, logo, images and supporting documents) will get the opportunity to do a real pitch to Mr Branson for real cash.

Pitchers will first need to drum up support for a public vote on social networks such as LinkedIn, of course, as well as on Facebook, Twitter et al. The top 50 entries in each category will be shortlisted, leading to a string of phone interviews and workshops aimed at producing short-shortlists of 10 for each segment. Then there will be more public voting to get those 30 down to a mere nine who will Pitch to Rich in person on 26 June. Finalists - and a people’s choice winner - will share £1 million in prizes, including advertising campaigns, cash investments, plus Virgin mentoring and support.

Now, about those categories. ‘Grow’ is for those with strong plans for the growth of their companies and the leadership skills to make it all work. ‘New things’ is about big ideas with the capacity to disrupt (naturally), while ‘start-up’ is for, erm… start-ups, though only those with huge potential.

A now, a word from Richard Branson. “I love listening to ambitious and enthusiastic entrepreneurs pitch. I hear pitches everywhere I go. I’ve been pitched to while running the London Marathon, cycling the Cape Argus tour in Cape Town, dressed as an air hostess on an Air Asia flight, and in restaurants all over the world. … While the thought of pitching can be daunting, a well-received pitch can lead you up the path towards great success. I encourage you to hone your skills, and have a go.”

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