A travel agent who co-founded a bridal and honeymoon boutique after she nearly died giving birth to twins has made it through to the next round of Virgin Media Business’s Pitch to Rich competition following a public vote.
Rebbeca Kingston and Lindsay Everett’s company Dress In Love, The Bridal and Honeymoon Boutique – a travel agency and wedding dress shop – was one of more than 900 in the start-up category alone, including other travel firms, competing for a slice of £1 million prize money in the entrepreneur’s competition. The winnings include marketing funds and mentoring.
The boutique and travel agency is one of 150 companies in total to be shortlisted, 50 in each category, based on the number of votes received. Dress in Love came seventh in its category in terms of how many votes it had from the public.
Kingston set up the business with Everett in Hertford last May just over six months after giving birth to twins Daisy-Mai and Oakley, who both have chronic lung disease. She runs the travel agency part of the business, selling honeymoons to brides and grooms.
Speaking after hearing the news, she said she had been overwhelmed by the support from her local community and the travel industry.
She added: “I would put this down to the support from the local community, we had no idea how much people could care about someone else’s business.
“We were also totally amazed by support from the travel industry, especially the Freedom Travel Group and Thomas Cook. Their support has been outstanding.
“So many people have also offered us support and advice and even if we don’t get any further we are so pleased to have got this far.”
A review panel of Richard Branson’s chosen experts is now sifting through the shortlist to select the semi-finalists. Ten semi-finalists will be picked in each category, to be announced on May 19.
These final 30 semi-finalists will be whittled down once again in another round of public voting and the three companies with the most votes in each category will then be announced on June 2. This is followed by workshops, meetings and filming and finally, a live final pitch in front of Branson himself on June 26.
Branson and his team of judges will pick one winner in each of the three categories to win a share of the £1 million, including cash, advertising campaigns, support and mentoring.
The semi-finalists who don’t make it through can still campaign for votes to win the People’s Choice Award.
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