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5 Feb 2015

A budding young entrepreneur from Sutton Coldfield who has fought a lifelong neurological condition is aiming to help good causes in the town by giving them a 21st century presence. 

Marketing and Tourism graduate, Philip Thebridge has launched 'Shopport', an eBay shop with a difference, which he hopes will support local retailers, causes and charities by helping them sell their and their fundraisers’ products online. 

Phil Thebridge has set up Shopport to help small businesses in his hometown of Sutton Coldfield (Photograph courtesy of the Sutton Coldfield Observer)

The 22-year-old, who graduated last year,suffers from cerebral palsy but that has not stopped him achieving success and matching his elder brother and sister's first-class university degrees. He also drives a specially adapted car, has travelled to New York as part of his marketing studies and is now set to enter the business world with his new venture.

But being an altruistic businessman, Phil not only wants his venture to make money but also aims to 'take away the burden' of getting online by providing Sutton businesses, charities and good causes with a 

Phil said: "There's lots of good local businesses that don't have the time or knowledge to sell online. I like marketing and how it all works – particularly the psychology behind what people buy.

"It is also really important to me to support local businesses and charities which are the backbone of a successful local economy and thriving community.

"I have so far been buying items that I think will sell online – mainly the gift market, but in the next few months I am hoping charities and businesses will come to me to help them sell online."

Phil believes his new venture can help time-pressured shoppers wanting to help local retailers and organisations from the comfort of their living room with virtual visits to shops in his home town.

He said: "I know many shoppers would love to support such local ventures but don't have the time to spare to visit shopping centres and want the ease of online shopping.

"Shopport is the answer for all those shoppers.

"It will bring local shops and charities to their home at their fingertips."

Every listing on Phil's site will tell potential buyers which charity, cause or business their purchase will be supporting – with either a percentage of the profits made going to a good cause with items he buys off them, or with the sale money going directly to the cause, less a small commission.

The venture comes after Phil suffered a series of interview setbacks with his condition affecting his speech and fine motor skills. Despite his condition though Phil has not only had academic success, can drive but also has sporting prowess having attended five National Disability Athletics Championships, played Boccia tournaments – a target ball sport like bowls – and played for Aston Villa's under-15 cerebral palsy team.

He has also volunteered at the Genesis Scout Group for special needs youngsters, in Handsworth Wood and travelled to New York for a marketing competition.

Phil would like to hear from any charities, good causes or retailers in his local area who would like to gain an online retailing presence by emailing: and is urging shoppers to visit Shopport at: and check out what he has to offer.

The latest information and deals will also be posted on social media including Facebook (search for Shopport) and on Twitter @shoportoneBay

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