HOW TO Make Your Business VOOM with Virgin Media Pioneers


As if hosting our first event for London’s creative community at Google Campus weren’t enough for one week, we recently had the pleasure of dropping in on a Global Entrepreneurs Week masterclass run by Virgin Media Pioneers to meet founders, start ups and young entrepreneurs learning how to make their businesses VOOM. Now, to VOOM is a unique concept probably best explained by the workshop’s inspiring host, Madeline McQueen. Madeline describes it as the result of go-getting, risk taking and business smarts rolled into one and believe it or not, it’s easier than you’d think to tap into.

Our masterclass was all about taking on challenges so an inspiring panel kicked off proceedings. We heard from the likes of Beejay Mulenga of Supa Tuck, Dan Cluderay of Approved Food and Chelsea Parsons from Well + Happy, a chocolate brand we already love and have bigged up this year. The panel and the amazing Samantha Clarke, our workshop host, offered on-point advice that truly resonated with us and our friends in the audience so we thought we’d share some of it with you.

Tips + advice from the experts:

Beejay started his journey selling sweets at school, raising £15K at just 15 years old. Since then, he’s launched Supa Tuck, a business and social enterprise dedicated to helping young people gain real business experience whilst studying. His advice for independent business owners and would-be founders? Understand your own energy, don’t try to imitate others or their models for success. Always have a purpose when you’re networking, it’s not just about handing out business cards to as many people as possible. Find a reason to connect with somebody and always look for common interests and causes to discover ways to forge natural communications. be sure to think both strategically and humanly about your connections.

Chelsea on the other hand, spent many years climbing the ladder in the corporate world before deciding to found Well + Happy in 2015. Focused on the natural, healthy side of chocolate, the business has gone from strength to strength and has helped Chelsea to believe that doing what makes you happy is the most important part of life. Her tips for a business that VOOMS? Find your power hour. We love this one as it makes so much sense to us. Chelsea explained that she’s a morning person and that not getting enough sleep the night before a big ideas session the next day is usually super detrimental to how successful she feels she can be. Being present and fully committed to every aspect and step of your entrepreneurial journey is so crucial to its success.

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How to get your VOOM on:

Next up we heard from Dan, who describes his business as the TK Max of food. Intriguing and pretty unique, we’re sure you’ll agree. An online discount food retailer based in Sheffield, Approved Food is calling BS on food wastage by peddling food that’s totally fine to consume but is past its sell by date. We love the idea of making top brand food affordable and minimising waste so naturally we were keen to know Dan’s business secrets and how he went from market trader to entrepreneur. He advised that having a great team is one of the most important steps to success. Recognising that sometimes you simply can’t do everything on your own is important for both the health of your business and for your own health. Lastly, doing something that makes you happy enough to jump out of bed every morning with a spring in your step is a joy so if something makes you feel that way, pursue it.

Our workshop host Samantha Clarke had quite a few pearls of wisdom to share. A lecturer at the School of Life and for Guardian Masterclasses, she started by assuring us that you’re not born with resilience, it’s learned. Challenges are a learning experience and we equip ourselves to deal with them by doing just that, dealing with them. According to Samantha, know which challenges will propel you forwards and which will stop you in your tracks is key in getting through difficult times so whether we look at things one by one or as a bigger picture, it’s important to be realistic and positive too. We finished with a great piece of advice about the the language of failure and our personal responses to challenges, in that situations are as negative or inspiring as we make them out to be. Yes, it’s tough to overcome big problems, but try not to be defeatist and know your power.

We learnt so much with thanks to our new friends and left feeling inspired and ready for anything, not bad for a rainy Monday morning. Big thanks to Virgin Media Pioneers for hosting the day, the amazing panel of speakers, Samantha Clarke, Madeleine McQueen and all the unique and motivated indie business owners and entrepreneurs we met on the day. We are so ready to VOOM.

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Words: Emily Beeson | @younggoldteeth