Branson awards graduate business 'best start-up'

Igor Rubets and Sir Richard Branson

4 June 2014

Sir Richard Branson named an Aston graduate’s business this year’s ‘best start-up’ company after hearing his enterprise pitch at a prestigious entrepreneur competition final.   

Former Engineering student, Igor Rubets, was awarded the Virgin Media Pioneers Start-Up Award for effectively and enthusiastically presenting his storage company, Boxhug, at the Pitch to Rich final. 

Boxhug, based in Derby, allows customers to deposit items by box rather than renting an entire storage unit. Their belongings are collected and returned directly to their doorstep to ensure ease of use. 

The 36-year-old delivered his successful pitch to Sir Richard Branson and a panel of renowned British entrepreneurs, including Peter Williams, co-founder of Jack Wills and Holly Tucker, co-founder of Not On The High Street. 

They praised Igor for his clear and professional presentation, which he delivered while standing on top of one of his patented storage boxes. They described it as an 'innovative solution to common storage issues'.  

To reach the final and win the Start-Up Award, which is for businesses in their first 12 months of trading, Igor beat more than 400 businesses participating in the competition, including three rivals in the final itself. 

For winning, he was awarded £5,000 and a year’s worth of legal, branding and marketing support from Virgin Media Pioneers. 

Igor, a Computer Science and Electronics Graduate, said: “This has been a fantastic experience. It has really changed my life. A few weeks ago I couldn’t hold a microphone and now I’ve pitched to Sir Richard Branson. Getting to the final of the competition was an amazing achievement but to win it is unbelievable.” 

The Pitch to Rich competition, which is similar in format to popular television show Dragons Den, aims to give entrepreneurs and businesses an opportunity to achieve success and fulfil their potential. This year, the competition final was held in Sir Richard’s family home in Oxfordshire. 

Igor added: “With the help of Virgin Media Pioneers, we are going to work even harder to build a brilliant business not just in the UK but across the world. Knowledge, expertise and know-how are vital to our start-up, so we will continue investing in people to improve our skills even further.” 

Virgin Media Pioneers was formed by the Virgin Group in 2010 as an online community to support young entrepreneurs and new businesses. 


For further media information, please contact Jonathan Garbett, Aston University Communications on 0121 204 4552 or