The initiative lets British entrepreneurs sell their ideas to execs at Virgin, including Branson himself, to win a slice of a prize fund worth £1m.
Formerly known as Pitch to Rich, the competition started in 2010, with past winners coming from a wide range of business ventures, from currency exchange firm Fourex to online expired grocery seller Approved Foods.
Applicants need to galvanise support and interest in their business from the general public. The 160 firms which receive the most public votes over the next seven weeks will battle it out in a two-day "pitchathon" on June 1, before a final round for the shortlisted candidates at the end of the month. At that point, hopefuls will pitch to Branson himself before the winner is crowned.
Branson urged hopeful business founders in London not to be shy; around a third of applications for the business battle have come from the capital, but northern cities are catching up fast
"Manchester is currently well ahead of Liverpool and Leeds, and Nottingham isn’t even in the running yet," he said.
"Voom 2016 is about shouting loud and proud about how entrepreneurial your city is. Get your pitches in today, start campaigning for those votes and crown your city ‘Britain’s most entrepreneurial’."