Winners crowned at UK and Ireland’s biggest entrepreneur competition
- MacRebur Limited (Start Up) and Bio-Bean (Grow Winner) are announced as winners of Virgin Media Business ‘VOOM 2016’ competition – winning a slice of the €1.2 million prize fund
- Winners chosen by Richard Branson, Tyra Banks, Sara Blakely, Marcus Butler and Virgin Media Business MD, Peter Kelly
Tuesday 28th of June 2016: After an extensive three month nationwide search, 20,000 registrations, 750,000 votes, a 29 hour pitchathon and a two minute final pitch MacRebur Plastic Roads and Bio-Bean are named winners of the Virgin Media Business ‘VOOM 2016’ entrepreneur competition.
Each of the winners – one from each category – will take home a slice of the €1.2 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.
Gavan Smyth, Vice President of Virgin Media Business, Ireland 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 Dumfries based MacRebur Plastic Roads presented by Toby McCartney. MacRebur Limited is an innovative new company that holds the United Kingdom and European patent on the method and recipe of mixing waste plastics with bitumen, and their 'magic formula', to produce a new asphalt road material.
London based business Bio Bean ,presented by Arthur Kay took out the grow category for their innovative idea of industrialising the process of recycling waste coffee grounds into advanced biofuels, displacing conventional fuels and chemicals in the process.
Irish based finalist Iseult Ward made the final six with FoodCloud, a not-for-profit social enterprise that has developed a unique solution to this problem through connecting businesses with surplus food with charities in their local communities that need it through a technology platform. Co -Founders Iseult Ward and Aoibheann O’Brien launched FoodCloud in October 2013 with one Tesco store in Dublin and the business grew from that moment, redistributing 2.9 million meals equivalent to charities across Ireland and the UK to date.
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’ – run by the ultrafast business broadband company – 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.
Notes to editors
The top six pitches can been viewed on vmbvoom.com
The two winners will receive:
- A cash prize of €63,000 (£50,000) to help grow their business
- Mentoring from Virgin StartUp and from our VOOM Professionals recruited via LinkedIn
- A £250,000 marketing campaign, with advertising on JCDecaux’s Waterloo Motion (the biggest indoor screen in Europe)
- A Virgin Media Business broadband package, with speeds of up to 500Mbps in Ireland
- Financial advice from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAE)
In addition, two runners-up from each category will each receive a cash prize of €25,000 (£20,000), a Virgin Media Business broadband package, mentoring, financial advice and brand support.
This year, the entry and online voting platform is powered by Crowdfunder, and entrants also have the opportunity to raise funds for their business by crowdfunding their VOOM entry. The top crowdfunding business will be named Champion Crowdfunder 2016 - and will win €63,000 (£50,000) cash and other great prizes including a bespoke media campaign from JCDecaux.
All businesses that entered the competition this year are still eligible for the People’s Choice Award. The business that secures the most public votes by June 24 will win €12,500 (£10,000) which will be presented on stage at the live finale.
About Virgin Media Business Ireland
Virgin Media Business is the leading national provider of integrated business communications ranging from Metro Ethernet services up to 100Gbps, Internet connectivity up to 10Gbps and broadband services for the small office and home office market.
Virgin Media Business offers the complete spectrum of business communications products through its high capacity fibre network. Services include Carrier Ethernet, Metro Ethernet connectivity, co-location, SIP and TDM voice services, leased lines, managed bandwidth and direct internet access.
Virgin Media’s BitBuzz is a Wi-Fi network operator providing a range of managed services to hotels, airports, cafe bars, pubs and other public locations throughout Ireland and the UK.
Virgin Media Business is one of the largest business-to-business communications providers in Ireland with a strong presence in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick, Waterford and 14 regional towns.
Virgin Media is a part of Liberty Global plc, the world’s largest international cable company. Together Virgin Media and Liberty Global serve 27 million customers across 14 countries, helping connect people to the digital world and enabling them to discover and experience its endless possibilities.