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Desi High Street

Yorkshire-Based Desi High Street Accelerates Ambition

28 April 2016 17:45


Local businesswoman, Kuljit Thiaray is calling on residents of West Yorkshire to help her win a share of £1,000,000 in prizes and pitch her business to Richard Branson as part of the Virgin Media Business VOOM 2016 competition.

VOOM 2016 relies on public votes at to shortlist the UK and Ireland’s most exciting entrepreneurs, and Kuljit, 40 from Leeds, believes Desi High Street has the idea to impress the public.

New online marketplace Desi High Street is the ultimate shopping destination for #AllThingsEthnic. Founded by entrepreneur and mum Kuljit, the business provides an online platform for independent retailers who sell ethnic, ‘Desi’ and South Asian goods.

Having left a successful career as a Senior Lecturer in Pharmacy Practice at the University of Bradford to pursue her own business, Kuljit is dedicated to digitalising a key UK market.

Kuljit says:

“My vision is to bring the UK's ethnic market online, on to one website. We are not taking the shops away from the community, but providing them with an additional income stream to complement their established businesses . We have set out to digitalise a traditional industry in the UK, and to support small businesses in the process. This market has been successful in India, but in the UK retailers have not fully embraced e-commerce.

“Desi High Street is responding to the changing needs of customers and the fact that the UK’s ethnic market has not kept up with them. We are helping these retailers to future-proof their businesses and to compete with international online retailers who are selling directly to UK customers.”

Kuljit’s business innovation has already been recognised, as a finalist in The Times Ready Business Mentor Programme and by gaining a place on the Entrepreneurial Spark business accelerator programme in Leeds. More recently, she was shortlisted in the We Are The City Rising Star Top 10 in the Entrepreneur’s category, which is also open for a public vote.

“We aim to bring a hand-picked selection of UK retailers together to create an online marketplace on a virtual Desi High Street. We will provide support and guidance for independent retailers of ethnic goods,” continues Kuljit, “We have huge ambitions and would like to support the UK’s ethnic market in a similar way to how ASOS marketplace supports new fashion brands and vintage boutiques, and Not on the High Street supports creative small businesses. We need the local community to vote and show support for us and our founding retailers.”

‘‘Virgin Media Business VOOM 2016 is all about seeking out, supporting and celebrating the UK’s and Ireland’s most exciting businesses. It’s the biggest and most valuable pitch competition out there - we’re hoping everyone will find a way to get involved!’ says Sir Richard Branson.

Peter Kelly, Managing Director of Virgin Media Business adds:

“We’re in the business of accelerating great ideas and boosting local businesses.

“Whether that’s by helping the UK’s entrepreneurs access superfast broadband, or by establishing the country’s most exciting pitch competition, we’re proud to be helping small businesses succeed.”

As well as showing your support for local business, public votes could result in Virgin Media Business crowning West Yorkshire as Britain’s most entrepreneurial region… so get voting now!

Voting for VOOM 2016 is now open at
Vote for Desi High Street at

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Press Contacts

Kuljit Thiaray


Tel: 07842 432843


About Desi High Street

DesiHighStreet® is an online marketplace for UK retailers of ethnic goods. Launched in December 2015 from offices in Leeds. We bring together independent businesses onto one website, where via a personalised shopfront retailers can directly sell their ethnic products to a wider customer base. The first of it's kind in the UK, DesiHighStreet® has a vision to make ethnic goods more accessible by bringing them online and become the ultimate shopping destination for #allthingsethnic
Founded by Kuljit Thiaray , who left her successful career in academia and pharmacy to begin an entrepreneurial journey to create the UK's first niche online platform for ethnic goods.
Based in an Entrepreneurial Spark business accelerator in Leeds, Desi High Street has won prize money from RBS and Natwest in a pitching competition and was recently shortlisted by The Times in their Ready Business Mentor Programme.

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