Judges joining Sir Richard Branson for Voom 2018 Final revealed

-          Virgin Media Business unveils expert panel that will judge the Voom finals on 23 May 2018

-          Business leaders will decide which entrepreneurs win a share of over €1.1million in prizes after pitching their big ideas live


30 April 2018 -- Founder of Innocent drinks Richard Reed, serial entrepreneur and TV presenter Sophie Morgan,  Founder of Tropic Skincare Susie Ma, and Virgin Media Business’ MD Peter Kelly will join Virgin Founder Richard Branson and bring their business expertise to the Voom 2018 judging panel.  Together they will decide which entrepreneurs will win Ireland and the UK’s most exciting pitching competition, walking away with a share of over €1.1million in prizes.


Sir Mo Farah, the UK’s most successful distance runner ever, Director of Going the Extra Mile at Virgin Media, will also be looking for that business that has ‘gone the extra mile’ and presenting them with a special award on the day.


The panel was announced at a Virgin Media event in central London where the judges shared their business advice with a live audience. Between them, they bring cross-sector expertise spanning FMCG, telecoms, health and beauty, creative industries and property development.


Virgin Group Founder, Richard Branson said: “We have great team of judges who will help scrutinise business plans and pitches before deciding who will win Voom 2018. The judges know all about the challenges of starting a business – and have the insight needed to spot a great idea and turn it into a business. He added: “It is not too late to enter, I would encourage anyone who has been thinking about entering to grab the opportunity and submit their entry, it may be the best decision they ever made!”


Speaking at the launch event, Susie Ma, founder and CEO of Tropic Skincare, said: “It wasn’t long ago that I was looking to grow my business by securing funding, so I know just how challenging it can be. Voom provides invaluable support, advice, connections and of course funding to budding entrepreneurs. I’d recommend that any ambitious business person should look to apply”.

Richard Reed, co-founder of Innocent Drinks and Partner at JamJar Investments, commented: “Starting Innocent was the best business decision I ever made, but we could only do it because we met a backer that really believed in us. Voom provides a platform for people to reach their dreams, offering the resources, expertise and exposure that are so vital in making bright ideas into brilliant businesses.”


Sophie Morgan, serial entrepreneur and TV presenter who presented Channel 4’s Paralympic coverage in 2016, added: “I’m thrilled to be involved in Voom 2018. To make it in business, you need to find your purpose and pursue it relentlessly whatever barriers you may have to overcome. I’m looking to find the next generation of exciting business leaders with the tenacity and vision to think big and take the world by storm”.


Experienced Voom judge, Peter Kelly, Managing Director of Virgin Media Business, concluded: “We’ve pulled together the highest calibre judges to scrutinise the final pitches from the many exciting entries that are pouring in to the competition.  Whether an entrant, finalist or winner - we know that being part of the Voom community opens doors for the businesses involved and we encourage both entrepreneurs and more established businesses to take part.  With an incredible judging panel in place and high-quality pitches coming through, the final on May 23 is set to be electric.”


Irish applicants to this year’s competition are already holding their own with over 15 applicants from Irish businesses so far. Irish business, CleverBooks, which  produces educational texts that use augmented reality to bring a bit of Harry Potter-style magic to the classroom, is currently in 2nd place overall in the Small Business category.


Budding entrepreneurs and established businesses looking to grow can enter Voom 2018 at www.virginmediabusiness.co.uk/voom until 8 May for the chance to win a share of over €1.1million in prizes. Public voting is now open and you can vote for your favourites online.


Notes to editors


For interviews with the judges, please contact annamaria.barry@virginmedia.ie

Businesses can enter Voom 2018 by submitting their idea at www.virginmediabusiness.co.uk/voom up until 7pm IST on 8 May 2018.  Pitches will be open to public voting, with the top 40 pitches from each of the two categories going through to semi-final heats in Manchester.  Six finalists will go on to pitch live to the judges, including Sir Richard Branson, for the chance to win a share of over €1.1m in prizes at the final in May.


Voom 2018 entry requirements:


You can enter if you’re:

  • Over 18, and
  • Living and working in Ireland or the UK, and
  • Your business employs 250 people or fewer.


About Virgin Media


Virgin Media is known for challenging the status quo – taking on industry giants, championing people and simply delivering extraordinary products and services.

We help create a digital world that makes good things happen: for our customers and the communities in which we operate.   Our multi award-winning services: broadband, TV, mobile and home phone connect thousands of people across Ireland.  But we’re not finished, we’re extending our network reach so that more communities and enjoy the benefits of the fastest widely available broadband speeds from only one provider in Ireland.


Virgin Media acquired TV3 and UTV Ireland which now operates under the TV3 Group to become Ireland’s number one commercial broadcaster.  As Ireland’s number one commercial broadcaster, TV3 operates three free-to-air channels - TV3, 3e and Be3 and is a significant investor in home produced content – across news, current affairs and drama. 


Through Virgin Media Business, we support entrepreneurs, businesses and the public sector, delivering the fastest speeds and tailor-made services.

Virgin Media is part of Liberty Global, the world’s largest international cable company, with operations in more than 30 countries.

For further information please visit: www.virginmedia.ie