Whopp Whoop – The Magic 823

The Journey To 823! (+30)

Thank You So Very Much. I am extremely happy to let you know that, with your help and support, our entry in the Richard Branson and Virgin Media Business Challenge 'PitchToRich' has passed the magic number of votes needed to be shortlisted.


This means that it will be looked at by Richard Branson's expert team and is in with a 1 in 10 chance of getting into the semi-finals - WHOOP WHOOP! (All positive energy gratefully accepted and appreciated!)

I would not be exaggerating if I were to say that over the last few weeks my emotions and energy levels have been on a rollercoaster ride that has left me both elated and energised, exhausted and challenged - all at the same time! 

The journey has generated both self doubt and inner turmoil at the same time as determination and focus to carry on - even when I have had no idea what the next steps needed to be. Your messages of support and encouragement have be gratefully received.

A feeling of frustration at myself has also been a regular visitor - yet that has not been a bad thing & I am definitely not moaning, I'm learning and loving the journey.

One of the biggest challenges has been based around some of the methods for gaining votes.  As mentioned in my last blog the landscape of the challenge was changed by a few entrants appearing to purchase votes. Now that can be seen as a negative - but I would rather not do that. It made both myself and others step out of their comfort zone, up their game, raise their profile and in the process make valuable connections,

The businesses world is not always smooth seas and easy sailing - there are going to be times when we have to 'go in to battle' for our product, service or brand and if the choppy waters of this challenge have you running for the shore then how are you going to fair when the going gets tough?

Exchanging Votes or Vote Swapping - Good or Bad?

Towards the end of the first round of voting I became aware that some entrants were 'swapping' votes to boost their numbers - I admit that my initial reaction was one of 'That's bending the rules a bit'. So I checked and ​it was OK. I still struggled for a while - and then I found a huge positive that I hadn't seen when I was busy being 'judgemental'!

I took time to look at other pitches - oh wow - there were some incredible ones in the mix. I wouldn't have found them otherwise and that would have been a real missed opportunity.

I went from being judgemental about it - to an advocate of it. It wasn't about just asking to 'swap' a vote. It was about taking time to look at pitches (I did find it easier if they had a video) and then connecting - saying "I like what you are doing and I have voted for you already - If you like what I am doing please would you return the favour."


Conversations were started, connections were made - some of them will be long lasting because I not only liked their pitch - I liked who they were as people and their plans to be a force for good.

A few of us, who had been 'cheesed off' with some of the first round practices for voting, decided t​o work together to get to the shortlist phase. It didn't matter that some of us were in the same category - it wasn't about ego - it was about let's get our pitches seen, let them be judged on their merit. None of us had budgets for marketing - we were small teams relying on friends and family to help us raise our profiles & drum up support. We were working at it for up to 20 hrs a day and our voters were voting for each others pitches.

We knew we only needed to get to the minimum number of votes required - because the 30 semi-finalists are all having their votes set back to ZERO.​

Even More Positives

Feedback from other entrants - WOW - it became like an amazing research and development opportunity and I grabbed it with both hands.  I was given a few key ideas for future development, especially in the area of how to support businesses with giving back to their communities and an extra service to offer.

I was also asked to write an open letter to MP's, Councils & Councillors after the Local and General Election - CLICK HERE to read it.

So What Is Next? - Watch This Space - No Matter What The Outcome - We Have Gained So Much - Thank You

Click Here to see our #PitchToRich 


About the Author


Jaki is the founder of If Everyone Cares CIC. After meeting hundreds of people who had been unable to find help & support when they were facing a crisis she decided it was a 'problem she wanted to be part of solving'. She is now part of a, small but dedicated, team who are creating Ododow - The Interactive Community Map to pin-point the UK's 200,000+ Charities & Community Projects - Ododow.org.

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