Gennex Ltd, an affordable solar power solutions start-up founded in the UK by Dowa Ojarikre and Nathaniel Peat, is among the semi-finalists in Virgin Media Pioneers ‘Pitch to Rich’ competition in a move to provide alternative lighting and power to the people who need it most.”
The competitions are seeking to find the UK’s best start-ups, finalists will pitch their business to Richard Branson and receive a package worth £5,000 to grow their business.
According to Sir Richard Branson, Pioneer-At-Large of Virgin Media Pioneers and founder of the Virgin Group, said: “Starting a business from very little capital is something I can relate to, but with a little backing early on and the right idea, anything is possible. I’m looking forward to meeting some of Britain’s best young entrepreneurs to hear their ideas and help make some of them a reality.
Gennex Ltd founders are among just ten young entrepreneurs shortlisted from hundreds of entries from across the UK.
Nathaniel Pete of Gennex Ltd said: “We are thrilled to be selected as a semi-finalist for this competition. We couldn’t have asked for it to come at a better time as we’re on the threshold of creating a new lighting system for the developing world. Traditional power options are still impractical for many yet there are few viable alternatives. We believe we have products that will change millions of lives.”
Nathaniel and Dowa discovered that in some parts of Africa, many people have to walk over 10Km to just charge mobile phones which have become an essential tool for money transactions and everyday life in Africa.
Gennex is developing an alternative to assist in the transition from unsafe kerosene lighting to safe, solar based lighting systems. Their products include a portable mobile phone charger and solar lighting for rural communities in the developing world. They are looking to serve the approximately 1.3 billion people around the globe with no access to electricity.
The two have exhausted all funds in setting up the business and attending meetings with major telecom firms Airtel, Vodacom and MTN, based in Africa.
Voting is now open and will close on Tuesday 23rd April. To vote for Nathaniel and Dowa and help them get through to the next stage of the competition visit www.virginmediapioneers.com. The public online vote will determine whether they will be one of the four finalists to pitch to Richard Branson, at a secret London location at the beginning of May.
After voting has closed the final four will be invited to pitch to a panel of judges including Sir Richard Branson plus chief executives, managing directors and the media. The finalists will have the opportunity to win a prize package worth £5,000, including cash investment and receiving expert legal, branding and marketing advice as well as mentoring for their business. The runners up will also receive £1,000 worth of investment, as well as an opportunity to build their network and raise their profile to further their business prospects.
Last year’s winner was Dan Watson from London, who designed SafetyNet, a sustainable fishing system designed to help juvenile fish escape during the trawling process.
Virgin Media Pioneers was founded by Virgin Media in 2010 and supports 5,000 young entrepreneurs, providing mentoring, advice and unique business opportunities.