Small group tours company The Flash Pack has made it through to the final 30 in the Virgin Media Business Pitch to Rich competition.
Founded by Radha Vyas and Lee Thompson, the operator is the only travel company to make it to the semi-finals, after being picked out by a review panel of Richard Branson’s chosen experts.
There are ten semi-finalists in each category. The Flash Pack, which started trading 16 months ago, is competing in the start-up sector for a slice of the £1 million prize money.
The company, which offers small group tours worldwide, particularly for solo travellers and professionals, is considering working with the trade but is currently direct-sell.
Thompson said: “This is really exciting and we just need the public to vote now to get into the top three so we can present our pitch idea to Richard Branson.”
Another hopeful, The Bridal and Honeymoon Boutique, a travel agency combined with a wedding dress shop, made it to the first shortlist of 150 out of 900 based on votes from the public, but did not get to the semi-finals.
Co-founder and travel agent Rebbeca Kingston said she was grateful for the support to enable her company to get as far as it did in the contest. She said: “We have achieved more in the last two months than we have in the last year. We couldn’t have done this without our supporters – it really has been amazing.”
And as a result of a client overhearing her talking about the competition Kingston has picked up a new booking for New York, which has turned into one of her biggest to date.
“It started off as a low key, Central Park ceremony. Four weeks later and we are chartering a private yacht to sail down the Hudson and flying 30 guests with premium seats to stay at The Essex House, and I am looking at about an £80k booking. I really couldn’t ask for much more,” she added.
The final 30 semi-finalists in the Virgin Media Business Pitch to Rich contest are now competing in a public vote until June 16. The three with the most votes in each category will then be announced and will be involved in 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 categories to win a share of the £1 million, including cash, advertising campaigns, support and mentoring.
In the start-up category the winner gets £150,000 in marketing support, plus mentoring and help from Virgin StartUp’s professional business advisers for a year. Two runners-up receive £50,000 marketing support.
To vote for The Flash Pack to get to the next stage go to: http://bit.ly/1AIPYct
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