North coast brothers in Richard Branson competition votes plea
Two brothers from the north coast whose love of surfing led them to make their own boards could face the scrutiny of Sir Richard Branson as they progress in a nationwide business competition.
Ricky and Chris Martin are through to the semi-finals of the #Voom: Pitch to Rich programme, run by Virgin Media Business.
It's offering a £1m business accelerator prize fund to three winning businesses - and The Skunkworks Surfboard Co won out over competition from nearly 900 businesses to make it to the semis.
The brothers are the only representatives in the competition from Northern Ireland, in which finalists will pitch directly to Virgin founder Sir Richard himself.
Ricky Martin said: "We are getting so close now to pitching directly to Richard Branson. The experience so far has been amazing. We think we're in with a good chance, but we very much need the support of the public in this next round so we are asking for votes again.
"We want to pitch our groundbreaking solution which will eliminate the wear and tear of foamies, which is currently the biggest cost to surfing schools across the world."
He said they had developed a prototype surfboard made of a new material that was more environmentally friendly than the foam traditionally used.
"We have come up with a product which is 100% recyclable for an industry which is expected to be worth $13.2bn by 2017."
Winners in each of the three categories will be chosen by Sir Richard and other judges including Jon Oringer, founder and chief executive of Shutterstock, Jo Malone of the eponymous lifestyle brand and Justine Roberts, founder of Mumsnet. The pair are also through to the final of the INVENT 2015 awards, run by the Northern Ireland Science Park.
To vote for Ricky and Chris click http://www.virginmediabusiness.co.uk/pitch-to-rich/new-things/the-skunkworks-surfboard-company/