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Virgin Media Business has launched a £1 million nationwide competition to find the UK's most exciting and innovative companies.

Sir Richard Branson, the Virgin Group Founder, announced the business accelerator prize fund in a Channel 4 television message, in which he invited start-ups and innovators from to pitch their ideas as part of 'Pitch to Rich' 2015.

Throughout the competition, Virgin Media Business will highlight the success of thousands of UK companies.

Stories, videos and news from Sir Richard Branson, the judging panel and participating businesses will be published regularly on LinkedIn to inspire small businesses.

Winners across three categories - 'Start-Up', 'New Things' and 'Grow' will be chosen in a live final on June 26th.

Each of the winners will receive a broadband, phone and mobile package from Virgin Media Business for 12 months, plus unlimited travel on Virgin Trains.

They will also receive a place on the Accelerator Network programme, a free package of pro bono advice from the ICAEW Business Advice Service and membership of the not-for-profit private members club at The House of St Barnabas.

Sir Richard said launching a business can be "challenging and, at times, overwhelming".

"But entrepreneurs shouldn’t let this hold them back from achieving their full potential," he stated.

"'Pitch to Rich' is a brilliant opportunity for UK businesses to make their mark on a global stage."

Peter Kelly, Managing Director of Virgin Media Business, said digital connectivity is playing "a huge part" in helping entrepreneurs build successful businesses, propelling the economy forward.

"Right now, great British businesses, like the thousands we work with, are seizing the opportunity that digital can have and shaking up their respective markets," he added.

Mr Kelly claimed that every strong economy needs game-changers and through 'Pitch to Rich', Virgin Media Business hopes to inspire even more.

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