On the up Carly Hacon · 25 May 2018
Voom 2018 winners: Who are Richard Branson’s most promising entrepreneurs?
Business Advice headed to London’s Tobacco Dock at a gathering of the UK’s most promising startup companies to find out who Virgin founder Richard Branson and his hand-picked panel of entrepreneurs selected as Voom 2018 winners. The winners came from the six Voom finalists who pitched their business idea live to a panel made up of Richard Branson, Richard Reed, Susie Ma, Sophie Morgan and Virgin Media Business MD, Peter Kelly. The UK and Ireland’s biggest pitching competition run by Virgin Media Business based at Tobacco Dock on Wednesday 23 May had two new categories this year: the spark & start category for startup companies and scale & grow category for more established small and medium sized businesses. Winning the spark & start award for Junior Einsteins, founder Tracey-Jane Cassidy pitched the winning concept which was a science club which inspires children through hands-on interactive experiments and amazing science events. Junior Einsteins currently operates in Ireland, but Cassidy hopes to put the money towards franchising her business so she can set up bases across the UK. Host of Voom 2018, BBC presenter Alex Jones, claimed she particularly loved the motto of the business teaching children how to think, not what to think. Commenting on her win, Cassidy said: As a woman in science I certainly think it’s important to get little girls as well as boys understanding how science works. Talking to Cassidy, Branson said: I have four grandchildren now, I know my daughter would definitely sign up. It seems like a wonderful thing you’re doing. Rebecca Bright won the scale & grow category with Therapy Box, a business that uses artificial intelligence to diagnose hidden communication disabilities. Branson amongst other judges wanted to have joint winners for the growth & scale category with Therapy Box and Rejuce, a fruit juice company aiming to reduce food waste in the UK, at neck and neck in his opinion. However, Therapy Box pipped Rejuce to the post and claimed the number one spot. Bright claimed her business has saved the NHS 6m.
ABOUT THE EXPERTCarly Hacon
Carly Hacon is a reporter for Business Advice. She has a BA in journalism from Kingston University, and has previously worked as a features editor for a local newspaper.