Each of the winners – one from each category – will take home a slice of the £1 million prize fund, which includes a cash prize, mentoring and marketing support to accelerate and grow their businesses.
The finalists had just two minutes to pitch their business and the winners were selected after intense deliberations by the judging panel made up of Sir Richard Branson, Tyra Banks, Sara Blakely Marcus Butler and Virgin Media Business Managing Director, Peter Kelly. The winning pitches stood out for their potential to disrupt the market, profitability and innovative spark.
Peter Kelly said: “Today’s finale is a celebration of the all the incredible businesses we have met throughout the competition – the talent we have uncovered and ideas we have heard has been inspiring, it’s what ‘VOOM’ is all about. Congratulations to all our finalists and the winners, they have worked extremely hard to get here and I’m excited to see what they do next.”
The start-up category was won by Scottish business MacRebur, an innovative company which uses a patented method and recipe to produce new road asphalt out of waste plastic – a process that creates a longer lasting, cheaper road surface that is 60% stronger than standard asphalt. It was founded by three dads; Toby McCartney, Gordon Reid and Nick Burnett after Toby volunteered as a plastic picker in Mumbai and wanted to come up with a creative way to find a use for the millions of tonnes of waste plastic that is produced every year
London business bio-bean took out the grow category for its clean technology company which recycles waste coffee grounds from your morning cup of coffee into sustainable biofuels. Founded by Arthur Kay after he saw an opportunity to use coffee waste to power cities, buildings and cars, bio-bean now operates the world’s first coffee waste recycling factory. It processes 50,000 tonnes of waste a year and has just launched a new product – Coffee Logs – a carbon neutral consumer product that replaces coal and wood.
Richard Branson, Virgin Founder said: “I love seeing entrepreneurs pitch an idea to me which they are incredibly passionate about and it was both a difficult and inspiring task to choose just two winners. All the finalists of the Virgin Media Business VOOM competition showed they have the dedication and intense desire to take their business to incredible heights and I believe they will all do so.”
Now in its fifth year, ‘VOOM 2016’ is the UK and Ireland’s biggest and most valuable pitching competition.
All six finalists now join a very special alumnus of past contestants who have gone on to achieve great success on a global stage since the competition. All entrants will receive continued support for their business through the Virgin Media Pioneers community which provides peer-to-peer advice, information and inspiration for thousands of entrepreneurs.