Approved Food team celebrate

Record 2,500 pitches submitted since March; 550,000 votes cast to select Semi-Finalists

Virgin Media Business has today announced that Approved Food is one of the top 32 businesses and innovators who have made it through to the Semi-Final stage of its entrepreneur competition ‘#VOOM: Pitch to Rich 2015’.

The Semi-Finalists were whittled down from the top 250 pitches which received the most public votes since the competition launched in March.  In total, over 2,500 pitches were submitted and over 550,000 votes cast.

Approved Food boss Dan Cluderay is now calling on supporters and customers of the bargain business to get voting in a bid to help him fulfil his dream of pitching to ‘inspirational entrepreneur’ and Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson.

People now have until 16 June to vote for their favourite pitch from the list of Semi-Finalists, with the top nine then pitching their business ideas at the live Finale on 26 June to Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Media Business Managing Director Peter Kelly and their panel of judges: Jon Oringer, Jo Malone, Justine Roberts and David Gandy.  The winners will each win a slice of the £1 million prize fund up for grabs.

Dan said: “I am just overwhelmed by the incredible support that we have received to date throughout this process, and incredibly excited to be one step closer to the opportunity to present my business model to Sir Richard Branson and his team for feedback and advice.

“Thank you to everyone who votes for us in this next stage to make this dream a reality.”

Approved Food, based in Yorkshire, specialises in selling surplus stock and products that are nearing or past the best before date. Since it was founded seven years ago the business has saved in excess of 36 million items from going to landfill.

The company now needs to come out in the top three in a new round of voting which is open now and available here:

Peter Kelly, Managing Director of Virgin Media Business, said: “We are celebrating the creativity, ingenuity and acumen that exists in the UK and encouraging more budding entrepreneurs to confront their fears and go for it! We are backing today’s entrepreneurs so they can be a part of tomorrow’s success.

“Our 32 Semi-Finalists are from all corners of the UK, from Hampshire to the Highlands, and each and every one of them should feel incredibly proud.  We wish them all the best as they look to secure votes to get through to the Finale.”

Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Group Founder, said: “The calibre of ideas that have been submitted to the Virgin Media Business Pitch to Rich competition is fantastic. It’s clear that the UK is producing some brilliant entrepreneurs and we need to do all we can to support them. This has been a tough decision to make but for the Semi-Finalists the adventure continues.”

According to the competition organisers the Grow category is for existing businesses that are ready to go ‘big-time’.

The winner gets £250,000 marketing support, and two runners-up receive £100,000 marketing support.

They will also receive a full internet and fixed and mobile voice package from Virgin Media Business for 12 months, unlimited travel on Virgin Trains for 12 months, a place on the Accelerator Network programme (​), a free package of pro bono advice from the ICAEW Business Advice Service ( and a membership to the not-for-profit private members club at The House of St Barnabas (


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