UK start-up brings power to the people of Africa: Virgin Media Pioneers ‘Pitch to Rich’ competition

Gennex LogoEntrepreneurs, Dowa Ojarikre and Nathaniel Peat, founders of Gennex Ltd have been selected as semi-finalists in Virgin Media Pioneers ‘Pitch to Rich’ competition – a nationwide search to find the UK’s best start-ups.  The finalists will receive the opportunity to pitch their business to Richard Branson and be in with the chance of winning a prize package worth £5,000.

The duo is two of just ten young entrepreneurs shortlisted from hundreds of entries from across the UK.  Nathaniel and Dowa currently run Gennex Ltd, a company that provides solar solutions at an affordable cost.  The two discovered that in Africa, many people have to walk over 10 km to just charge mobile phones which have become an essential tool for money transactions and everyday life in Africa.

Approximately 1.3 billion people around the globe currently have no access to electricity.  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 will now face a public online vote to 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.

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 at midday on Tuesday 23rd April.  To vote for Nathaniel and Dowa and help them get through to the next stage of the competition visit

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.

To find out more about the Virgin Media Pioneers or to enter, visit: or @VMPioneers #VMPitch2Rich

Full list of entrants:
Barbara Jones, Straw Works.

Dowa Ojarikre and Nathaniel Peat, Gennex

Gavin Donlon, Ltd

Imran Merza, The Jealous Life

Joshua Okungbaiye and John Okungbaiye, High Spirit

Kurt Wells, Maki Solutions Ltd

Rajiv Riccardo Thakar, Signedfour Ltd

Stephen Terry, TCK Engines


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