A mother-of-two is on her way to pitch to Richard Branson after she was shortlisted in a Virgin business competition.

Geraldine Grandidier, owner of children’s bookcase company Tidy Books was successful in receiving 1,400 public votes to get into the semi-finals of the Pitch to Rich competition, selected out of thousands of entrants.

If Tidy Books wins, it will receive £250,000 worth of advertising to accelerate its growth, plus mentoring from the Virgin team.

Since hand making her daughter a children’s bookshelf 10 years ago in Hirst Road, Walthamstow, the mother-of-two can now produce 6,000 flat pack bookshelves a year ready to be shipped out all over the world.

But 46-year-old Ms Grandidier remains focussed on scaling up the business even more.

She said: “There is a long way to go and I would be nervous if I got to that stage of actually pitching to Richard Branson. But I believe in what we do and have confidence in our product's universal appeal.

“I think Richard has got a child-like quality to him. He is open-minded and looks at business in a completely different way to most businessmen, you can tell by the range of products he has delivered.

“Our business gives to children’s charity and we want to do more. I love what I do and really see it as a vehicle to help others. Getting children to read is very important, and if we get bigger we can do more to help.

The former violin maker spoke of the difficulties of combining a £500,000 annual turnover company with early family life.

She said: “I had just started the business when my son was my born. I had difficult moments, sleepless nights - it was really tough. Looking back I don’t know how I did it.

“I have to be with my children, so I couldn’t travel whilst they grew up and I wanted to be around.

“That balance was really difficult, but I am better at it now.”

Ms Grandidier offered advice to other working mothers in the borough, where she has lived for 17 years.

She added: “The key thing is to know where you want your idea to go. If you want to produce handcraft items or cupcakes for a local fete you have to be clear in knowing what you want to achieve.”