Virgin gives entrepreneurs a chance to get rich

The telco is bringing a contest to Canada that gives young thinkers a chance to meet company founder Richard Branson.
Pitch to Rich

Virgin Mobile is giving business savvy Canadians the chance to win big with their new contest, “Pitch to Rich.”

Launched this week, the contest invites entrepreneurs to pitch a mobile-related idea in exchange for $10,000 and a trip to Calgary to meet Virgin Group founder Richard Branson. Some other perks include a two night hotel stay and a $500 Visa gift card.

The campaign falls in line with the overall Virgin Mobile image and primary target: the young, energetic and “data-driven” – those of us who relish our time on our phones and online.

According to Jennifer Posnikoff, Virgin Mobile’s director of brand and communications, the campaign is calling on Canadians to think outside the gigabyte. Branson will be offering up encouragement, inspiration, and tips on what makes a good pitch in short videos that will be rolled out throughout the campaign.

“We’re challenging Canadians to look at the mobile industry and create an idea that will challenge the norm and create different or better technology to move mobile forward,” Posnikoff tells strategy.

Although this is the first time this contest is being held in Canada, similar entrepreneurial incentives have been hosted by Virgin in the U.K., U.S. and Mexico.

Posnikoff says “Pitch to Rich” events in other markets have resulted in entrants’ businesses benefit from increased public awareness and connections made through the competitions. She adds that Canada seemed like the perfect place to go next. “[There are] lots of small businesses in Canada, and we believe in inspiring entrepreneurs to help drive change.”

Having a kingpin like Branson behind the campaign helps it achieve awareness, brand recognition and likability, according to Posnikoff. And with the campaign being shared primarily on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, the promise of Branson sharing the content with his 14 million followers doesn’t hurt its reach either.

Branson has come to be known as one of the most successful businessmen in the world with a net worth of $5 billion U.S. Founded in 1970, the Virgin Group now has dozens of subsidiaries and over 70,000 employees worldwide.

The contest will run until April 24, with a winner being selected May 1.