With the launch earlier this week by Virgin Media Business of the 2017 ‘VOOM’ competition to find the best new business ideas across the UK comes the news that a new ‘Voom Bus’ will be coming to Winchester on Thursday 19 October 2017.
Officially announced by Britain’s most famous entrepreneur, Sir Richard Branson, the first ever VOOM Tour will take the national competition out of London over the next six months to track down the brightest business ideas from right across the UK and Ireland. With Virgin Media offices at Crawley Court, just outside the city, Winchester was an obvious choice for one of four ‘major stops’ on the tour itinerary.
VOOM is the country’s biggest pitching competition, begun in 2011 to encourage the UK’s next generation of business men and women, and to give them the tools they need to thrive and grow – including “more Broadband than they could ever need”. This includes advice, recognition, connectivity and – for the lucky ones – cash.
New research from Virgin Media Business, to coincide with Voom Pitch and the Voom Tour 2017, shows that almost two in five people think they’ve had a great idea for a new business. However, more than seven in ten 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 realising their dreams.
To help these 13.8 million UK residents unleash their business, Virgin Group Founder, Sir Richard Branson, said:
“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
Over the next six months the Voom Tour schedule will include Belfast, Birmingham, Cardiff, Dublin, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, Newcastle and Winchester.
Winchester City Council has committed to being an enterprising organisation under its new Council Strategy, and is keen to encourage a similarly enterprising culture in the local economy. Eloise Appleby, Assistant Director (Economy and Communities) attended the national VOOM launch, and commented:
“We are proud to be the only city South of London on the VOOM tour, and will be working with the organisers and with Hampshire County Council to ensure that the sessions offered on the bus are tailored to the needs of local entrepreneurs to give them the very best support – whether they go through to the national pitching competition or simply apply for the Council start-up grant.
“Winchester City Council aims to make the District a premier business destination, and this kind of partnership with Virgin Media Business will ensure that we are well and truly on the map.”
Virgin Media Business is looking for local people with the courage 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.
The national competition will return in March 2018 and will again provide the chance to win a share of £1m in prizes. For more details on the tour and for anyone with a great business idea, who wants to register to pitch at their local event, they should visit www.virginmediabusiness.co.uk/voom .