Help Claire impress Virgin boss

Claire needs your votes to pitch to Richard Branson for backing. SG290115-116TW
Claire needs your votes to pitch to Richard Branson for backing. SG290115-116TW
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She’s never been short of ambition but now Claire Hall of Percy’s Vodka Iced Teas is aiming even higher as she seeks to get backing from the ultimate entrepreneur – Sir Richard Branson.

Claire (33) has dedicated ten years of her life to turning her idea for vodka iced teas into a viable business, but in order to take her product to the next level she needs to secure some major investment to help her market her drinks.

Having already invested around £35,000 of her own savings, as well as money from relatives and grants she has won, Claire of Kirton Holme is now trying to win the opportunity to pitch her business to the Virgin boss.

Sir Richard is offering up to £1 million, under the banner of Virgin Media Business, to help fledgling businesses through his Pitch to Rich scheme.

In order to take part, Claire, who single-handedly makes all her vodka teas at the National Centre for Food Manufacturing in Holbeach, has submitted a video entry – which she is desperately urging people to vote for.

The more votes she secures the better her chance of making the 150-strong shortlist, with the final hurdle being a pitch to Sir Richard himself during a live finale on June 26.

“I really have to push this and get as many votes as possible, otherwise I won’t get the chance to pitch to Sir Richard,” said Claire.

“I need this as I have no marketing money whatsoever, so I’m really calling on Lincolnshire to vote for Percy’s.”

The idea for Claire’s brand – which includes four flavours of White Tea, Pear and Raspberry, White Tea, Apple and Elderflower, Black Tea, Apple, Lemon and Lime and Black Tea Pear and Ginger – came about soon after she left university and was working for a public relations firm in London.

She had a Eureka moment while drinking a fruit tea and thought how great it would be if she could make a version containing vodka.

From that moment on, she hasn’t looked back and is currently selling her products both through online retailer Not On The High Street and her own website, at a price of £4 for a 250ml bottle.

Despite lots of exciting collaborations in the pipeline this year - for example, Claire is due to team up with Lincolnshire chef Rachel Green on some recipes using her teas and also some dishes to accompany them – she desperately needs to secure more investment if she is to make Percy’s her full-time job.

To support Claire and vote for Percy’s visit http://www.virginmediabusiness.co.uk/pitch-to-rich/grow/percys-tea/

Voting closes on May 5.