Ahead of this year’s Voom 2016 competition for SMEs in Ireland and the UK, vice-president of Virgin Media Business Ireland, Gavan Smyth, offers his tips for companies looking to apply, and how they might win over Richard Branson.

Previously known as Pitch to Rich, the Voom 2016 competition is for SMEs looking to upscale their ideas, with €1.2m (£1m) in prizes up for grabs, along with additional tips and mentoring from experienced professionals sourced through the business social network LinkedIn.

With Virgin Media having taken over the reins of UPC here in Ireland late last year, the competition has increased, with the likely addition of a number of Irish entries, some of which could make up the final 10 that will pitch their ideas to the company’s founder and philanthropist, Richard Branson.

With hopes that a number of Irish companies can join British companies for the final pitching event on 28 June, the vice-president of Virgin Media Business Ireland, Gavan Smyth, has some tips for what types of companies might catch the attention of Branson.

“He did say recently that he’s very interested in clean tech-type companies,” he said.

“He’s put together a plan for clean tech in the Caribbean, but it’s not restricted to any markets or verticals or sectors. It’s very much open to companies that are looking to grow, or accelerate.”

Words by Colm Gorey