09 Apr You won’t believe what Sir Richard Branson has given me.
As I stood in front of Sir Richard and a huge audience, wearing my shorts, hoody and festival face paint, I had the reality shock that I was actually there and should start pitching my idea!
I had been working to this moment for months, promoting my business and getting all the votes I could for this competition and yet I still couldn’t believe I was finally there at the Branson household in Oxford.
Initially nervous, I started my pitch and after a bit of light northern humour, I quickly felt at home. I got in to my stride, finished my pitch, answered the panel’s questions and sat down. That was the hard bit over and now all I had to do was wait.
During this time, Richard’s daughter, Holly came up to me – (she had to introduce herself as I had absolutely no idea, how embarrassing!) She then started telling me about a festival she was organising and if I would like to come by with a few friends to see how they do things… what an amazing opportunity before even finding out if we won on the day.
The results finally came back and whilst we didn’t bag first place, I was over the moon. Due to the quality of the pitches Sir Richard still decided to award the three runner up teams anyway – plus I was going to a festival on behalf of his daughter, it was a perfect day!
After the pitch
From being a part of this competition the press, both local and national, quickly picked up on my business, I started getting enquiries from clients whom we still have today and organisations wanting me to come and share my story at their events. Being associated with the Branson name certainly helps business in more ways than one.
To this very day I am still referred to as a company that pitched to Sir Richard Branson and even now it opens many doors.
Holly is still an amazing contact and just last week introduced me to a charity, which one of my new companies will be working very closely with.
I have also been representing Virgin Media Pioneers Regionally as the Yorkshire Ambassador which has had me speak at all sorts of local events, meeting some amazing entrepreneurs and included the occasional trip to the big smoke.
Actually, my first trip ever to London was because of Virgin Media Pioneers… Virgin Media needed someone with ‘talent’ (used very loosely) to go on TV – I applied and got through. This is how nervous I used to be 4 years ago!!!
Pretty cringey huh?
Yet, perhaps one of the greatest gifts Virgin Media Pioneers has given me is access to the V festival Louder Lounge with The Lazy Camper. It was a huge contract for the business to have won and resulted in over 50% of our takings for the first year. Not to mention all the amazing contacts and free food!
The point I am trying to make out of all of this is that; this year’s ‘#VOOM Pitch to Rich’ is so much more than the money (although it will definitely help!) – my prize money was consumed in the business within a month, but the contacts and the press value has returned on that ten fold.
#VOOM Pitch to Rich 2015
‘#VOOM: Pitch to Rich 2015’ from Virgin Media Business offers business-changing opportunity for UK entrepreneurs to pitch to Sir Richard Branson
Virgin Media Business has launched a nationwide competition, with an unprecedented £1million business accelerator prize fund, to find the country’s most exciting and innovative businesses.
As I mentioned, through personal experience, I am urging as many start up businesses to apply for this competition, the promotion alone will take your business to places you never imagined and if you are lucky enough to win, I imagine the mentoring, perks and finance will send your ideas out of this world.
I will be sharing my Pitch to Rich story at a few events this year and if you’re thinking of applying and have a few questions or would like me to come share my experience with your school, community or workplace please feel to tweet me @TheLazyJacob or email me Jacob@thelazycamper.co.uk.
(please note, I have no influence in the application process!)
For more information on how you could #VOOM Pitch to Rich visit www.pitchtorich.co.uk and good luck!