Thamesmead business closes in on pitching to Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson

PUBLISHED: 13:00 17 April 2013

Thamesmead brothers John and Joshua Okungbaiye have made it through to the last six companies in a nationwide competition which will give them the opportunity to pitch their business to Sir Richard Branson.

It is run by Virgin, and the brothers, who own High Spirit, have made it through to the online public vote in the 2013 Virgin Pioneers competition.

The four businesses which receive the highest votes will have the opportunity to pitch their ideas to Sir Richard Branson and a panel of judges on May 2.

The ultimate winner selected from the four finalists will receive a £5,000 cash injection into their company.

Joshua said: “High Spirit is a bag company that creates bags with unique zipping designs in order to prevent the loss and theft of possessions, particularly during travel.

“We aim to use the money to further develop the website so we have a one-stop-shop for sales in order to strengthen the brand and assess consumer trends and insights in order to create even better product designs. We also seek to strengthen our branding through creating truly viral marketing campaigns.

“The unique zipping design of the bags means that the zip is on the side of the bag closest to your back and can’t be easily accessed by pickpockets even if you choose to only carry it by one of the straps.”

Erith and Thamesmead MP Teresa Pearce said: “I have the greatest admiration for anyone who has the ambition and determination to set up their own business, especially in the current financial climate.

“I am very impressed with the innovative and useful product John and Joshua have developed, and think that their success in this competition so far is reflective of the talent we have here in Erith and Thamesmead. “John and Joshua are excellent role models for young people across the constituency, and I would urge people to check out their product, and consider voting for them to make the final four in this competition.”

Virgin Media Pioneers is an online community of 4,000 entrepreneurs, designed as a place where start-ups can go to network and mentor each other. Every year Virgin Media runs a competition giving Pioneers an opportunity to pitch their business to Sir Richard Branson, with the winner receiving a £5,000 cash award.

Voting opened on April 15 and will close at midday next Tuesday (April 23). You can cast your vote for John and Joshua Okungbaiye by visiting the Pioneers website at

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