Voom Pitch is back with £1 million worth of prizes up grabs for start-ups and small firms that are looking to grow.
Richard Branson's annual pitching competition, Voom Pitch, is searching for "the most innovative and exciting small and medium-sized businesses in the UK and Ireland".
This year the competition will open up to established SMEs as well as start-ups. The total funding prize pot is £1 million, thanks to support from new partners including Crowdcube, G by Grant Thornton, PayPal, PwC and Virgin Money.
Existing partner Crowdfunder will again provide entrants with the option to run a crowdfunding campaign alongside their pitch entry. In 2016, Voom entrants raised over £4 million in crowdfunding during the public voting process.
As well as the cash prize, entrants can win an advertising campaign from JCDecaux and a first-stage funding programme from G by Grant Thornton. Additional awards and prizes from Voom Pitch 2018 partners will be announced shortly.
Peter Kelly, managing director, Virgin Media Business, said: "It is so inspiring to see big business coming together for Voom Pitch 2018 to find and support small businesses, both fledgling and more established, in order to help them really take off.
"Our new partners will enable us to expand the reach of the competition and provide the right tools to really take the winning businesses up a gear, whether that be through crowdfunding, advertising campaigns, export opportunities, finance and accounting, digital security or mentoring."
Voom finalists will get to pitch their ideas to Richard Branson at the Voom Pitch grand final in London on 23 May. Entrants will first have to get through online public voting and semi-final heats, to be held in Manchester, where they will pitch to senior business figures.
"In 2017 we took Voom on tour across the UK and Ireland and shone a spotlight on many local business heroes," said Richard Branson. "This year the national competition is back, bigger and better than ever. I can't wait to help find this year's Voom Pitch 2018 winners and help them reach their full potential."