It’s time to brush up on your pitching skills because #VOOM is back and we’re on the lookout for uniquely brilliant businesses and bright ideas to take part.
With a cut of £1m in prizes on offer and the opportunity to pitch to Richard Branson for more exposure than you can shake a stick at, there’s no doubt that it’s the most exciting pitching competition in the UK and Ireland. However, there’s something even more valuable on offer. Intrigued? Read on to find out why you should enter and get yourself ready to VOOM.
What is VOOM?
The competition started in 2012, with just 60 pitches to Sir Richard Branson; well known entrepreneur and proliferator of the Virgin brand. Since then, the competition has grown into an annual event that attracts thousands of entries that are all looking for the chance to take their great idea to the next level.
The first stage of the competition is to submit your pitch online. Entrants will then go through online public voting and semi-final heats, where they will pitch to senior business figures. The end-goal is to pitch to Richard and win some of the prize money, but there’s lots of other opportunities along the way (such as crowdfunding alongside collecting votes) to make an idea happen.
Where does Crowdfunder and crowdfunding come in?
Beginning in 2016, the option for entrants to crowdfund alongside their Voom Pitch entry has seen their projects raise an extra £750,000 alongside the main competition.
By choosing to crowdfund alongside an entry to Voom, you can raise money for your business whilst the competition is running, generate huge exposure for your business and ultimately, use your Voom voters to gain real pledges and support to put you in with the best chance of winning – and winning in this case doesn’t necessarily mean the prize itself.
Rob Love, Founder of Crowdfunder, said, “I know that, of course, people come in to try and win the money and meet Richard, but the reality is that it’s not always about the winners. There’s something much more valuable to gain than just the potential prize money. We’re looking for the One Directions… One Direction didn’t win the X-Factor, but that didn’t matter one bit – they’ve gone on to achieve more success than most of the winners have throughout the competition’s history.”
With the opportunity to grow your network of supporters, create a really unique story and ultimately, take your business to the next level, crowdfunding is truly complementary to the process of entering VOOM.
What could you win in the competition?
Voom really is all about taking part and making the most of a unique chance to tap into a whole range of money-can’t-buy opportunities for your business or bright idea.
As well as the cash prize, entrants can win an out of home advertising campaign from our partners JCDecaux and a first-stage funding programme from G by Grant Thornton. There are lots of other additional awards and prizes from Voom Pitch 2018’s partners that will help winning businesses take things to the next level, including the Crowdfunder Award (available to those who crowdfund alongside their Voom Pitch).
We want to celebrate the business that builds the biggest Crowd during the competition, and the five businesses that crowdfund the most money during Voom will be shortlisted and reviewed by a judging panel. The winner will be rewarded with £60,000 of extra funding and support from Crowdfunder and our partners Crowdcube and JCDecaux.
What makes a good pitch?
As the voting process is driven by the public, Voom really is the people’s awards. What this means is that the most exciting Voom Pitch propositions tend to simultaneously be commercially successful and solve problems faced by society. Therefore, great Voom ideas are projects that matter, supported by a community that cares, that make great businesses.
These ‘great businesses’ are not just about making money but they also have an impact on a larger scale. Bio-bean, who industrialise the process of recycling waste coffee grounds into advanced biofuels, displacing conventional fuels and chemicals in the process, raised £58,510 whilst crowdfunding alongside their Voom Pitch and E-foldi, an electric scooter that can fold into a chair or portable suitcase so that users can easily transport it around with them, raised an incredible £104,654. Whilst these two businesses are very different, they both tackle daily challenges and offer solutions to make life just that little bit better, appealing to both the public and the judges; no doubt being the reason why they raised lots of money from the Crowd and reached the final round of pitching during Voom.
Who can get involved?
Everyone has the potential to be an entrepreneur and on that basis, anyone with a brilliant business or bright idea can and should get involved with this unique opportunity to gain genuine assistance. Specifically, the competition is open to start-ups, small businesses, social enterprise and growing businesses based anywhere in the UK; so if you think you fit the bill and are considering getting involved, then just go for it!
Rob Love, Founder of Crowdfunder, said, “As an entrepreneur myself, it’s important to be part of something that offers genuine assistance to other entrepreneurs. It’s a misconception that an entrepreneur is a specific type of character; I strongly believe that anyone can be an entrepreneur and it’s exciting to introduce them to Crowdfunder as a way of validating their ideas and turning them into reality. The important thing is that by going through the Voom process, you’ll come to see that sometimes the success comes from within the journey itself… The prize is not the prize.”