AN entrepreneur from Yattendon has been shortlisted for a national pitch competition after seeing his firm's turnover reach £2.5million.

Nick Coleman, who set up The Snaffling Pig Company after betting a friend he could overhaul the humble pork scratching's reputation and build a successful business, has been entered into VOOM 2018, a competition set up by Virgin Media Business to give new company's a chance to win a share of £1 million, and an opportunity to pitch their ideas to Virgin boss Richard Branson.

Since launching the company in 2015, Nick has appeared on Dragon's Den, securing a £70,000 investment from Nick Jenkins.

A former buyer for Marks and Spencer, Nick, 35, said: “I think pork crackling has a lot of emotional associations. I remember being a boy of eight, playing darts with my dad in the pub and being treated to a Coke with a bag of pork crackling. It’s a wonderful product, but needed to be reinvigorated in the same way burgers and gin have been. Now we have nine flavours, including Marvellous Maple and Piggy’s Doom, which features one of the hottest chillies.

"The Den was exactly as it appears on television – very confrontational. We wanted Nick’s investment from the start and pitched with his interests in mind. That meant presenting The Snaffling Pig Company not just as a pork crackling firm, but almost as a way of life. For example, in order to grow the £40m UK crackling market we created the world’s first crackling advent calendar. We ship beautifully wrapped hampers and glass jars of our nine flavours. It must have worked because Nick invested £70,000 for 20% of the business. We have since bought back 10% of his share and he remains a huge asset to have on board.

"Most of the Dragon’s Den money went on stock rather than investment in advertising or sales. We are fortunate in that we supply Tesco, Debenham’s, John Lewis and others, but they buy huge quantities of product that require huge amounts of cash to service. As a startup you learn as you go; I’m a big believer in ‘failing forward’ and getting on with it.

“VOOM is a great showcase for small businesses wishing to build brand awareness. Richard Branson is a huge inspiration – I’ve read all his books. It would be great to meet him at the final, but whatever the outcome I know just taking part will have a positive impact.”

To vote for your favourite pitch until 15 May, visit