On Tuesday, Crowdfunder UK announced it was teaming up with Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Media Business for this year’s Voom Pitch, the UK and Ireland’s biggest pitching competition. The trio revealed that for the first time since the competition’s launch in 2011, it will take to the road, traveling throughout the UK and Ireland, in search of the UK’s next great business ideas and inspiring budding entrepreneurs along the way. To give small businesses across the UK the connectivity they need and deserve, Sir Richard Branson will also switch on Virgin Media Business’ latest and most disruptive broadband product, Voom Fibre.
According to Virgin Media Business, its latest research shows that almost two in five people (38%) think they’ve had a great idea for a new business. However, more than 7 in 10 of this group, the equivalent of over 13.8 million people, suffer from ‘business diffidence’ and haven’t done anything with their idea due to a fear of failure. Half the respondents who didn’t turn their ideas into reality saw a lack of funding as their main obstacle, followed by 37% who cited a lack of confidence preventing them from realizing their entrepreneur dreams. Responding to this, Branson stated:
“The Voom Bus is going on tour to seek out brilliant British entrepreneurs and to help them break down the business barriers in their way. We’re bringing the Voom Tour into communities and challenging people to put aside their fears and pitch their business ideas as we travel across the UK. The Voom Tour is a fantastic way for people to get started on what could be the most significant journey of their business life.”
The Voom Tour schedule will include Belfast, Birmingham, Cardiff, Dublin, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, Newcastle and Winchester. This tour will happen over the next six months and Virgin Media Business reported it is looking for local entrepreneurs to pitch their business idea at each tour stop, giving them the chance to win a regional prize of £5,000 and one of ten chances to meet and receive advice from Sir Richard Branson. Experts from partners including Virgin StartUp will also be on hand to provide valuable expertise, help, and advice on how to launch and scale a start-up.
As part of the tour, Crowdfunder UK will give Voom Pitch participants the chance to raise money while they canvas votes. Other partners of #Voom2017 are LinkedIn, JCDecaux, ICAEW, and Virgin StartUp.