Virgin Media Business announces judging panel for £1m competition prize

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Judges to join Sir Richard Branson to choose the winners of entrepreneur competition, ‘#VOOM: Pitch to Rich 2015’

Virgin Media Business has announced four high-profile judges to join Sir Richard Branson and Managing Director Peter Kelly, in their search for the UK’s most innovative and exciting new start-ups and small businesses.

Sir Richard will be joined at the live finale on 26 June by Jon Oringer, Jo Malone, David Gandy and Justine Roberts as part of the Virgin Media Business ‘#VOOM: Pitch to Rich 2015’ competition.

The six-strong panel will choose three winners – one for each category – who have fended off stiff competition from over 2,500 entrants to win a slice of the record £1 million prize to help them grow their businesses. The three categories are Start-up, New things and Grow.

Peter Kelly, Managing Director of Virgin Media Business, said:

At the start of Pitch to Rich, we tasked ourselves with finding the UK’s most interesting and innovative businesses. We’re delighted to have secured an expert panel of judges with outstanding credentials when it comes to starting and investing in new business. Looking at the high number and quality of the pitches we’ve received, our judging panel will really have to draw on their collective experience to identify the very best at the live finale.

Each of the judges will draw on their personal expertise during the highly anticipated final.

Alongside their role in determining the winners for each category, they will also offer advice and tips to the entrepreneurs as they pitch their business ideas. With a panel who have been responsible for founding and investing in businesses across technology, social communities, food and drink and perfume, their insights will be invaluable.

Jon Oringer brings a wealth of tech entrepreneurial experience to the panel. As the founder and CEO of Shutterstock, the digital imagery marketplace with a market cap of over $2billion, he knows how to spot a product with global potential.

Jo Malone MBE, the creator of the globally renowned ‘Jo Malone London’ and her new brand ‘Jo Loves’, will be looking to share her inspiration, passion and advice for building a global brand.

David Gandy will be passing on advice gained from his ever-growing business portfolio, including investments such as health-focused ice cream company Wheyhey and luxury footwear brand David Preston.

As the founder of Mumsnet, the experience Justine Roberts has of creating an online community during the dotcom crash and underpinning it with a strong commercial business framework to ensure its success today, means that she will be able to offer a wealth of knowledge to candidates.

Richard Branson, Virgin Group Founder, said:

I am thrilled to be joined by such an experienced panel of judges. Setting up a business is a huge challenge, the Virgin Media Business Pitch to Rich competition is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs to develop their ideas and make their mark, whether they are a start-up or a well-established business. I can’t wait to meet the finalists next month.