Simon Lancaster, CEO and founder of global insurance broker SJL Insurance, has marked the launch of his SJL Foundation by rewarding eight of the UK’s most exciting start-ups with a £2,000 start-up business grant and one year’s free mentoring from the SJL Foundation’s network of industry contacts at an event this morning at the Houses of Parliament.
Simon Lancaster, Founder and Trustee, of the SJL Foundation said: “As a one off to mark the official launch of the SJL Foundation, I gave the judging panel the authority to choose all eight finalists as winners. We were blown away with all eight pitches and could see how each and every business could help their local communities, through to some companies that could become national or global companies.
Each winner will receive a £2,000 start-up business grant and mentoring from SJL. Each winner has signed the SJL’s Pay It Forwards agreement, so when they’re more established they’ll do what we have done for them, which is help and support another start-up entrepreneur.”
Lancaster was joined on the judging panel by former Dragon’s Den star and founder of gift experience company Red Letter Days Rachel Elnaugh, crowdfunding expert John Auckland, CEO of Tribe First, and Kerry Hopkins, CEO of communications agency Baron & Hopkins and digital video platform Broadcast Ready on the judging panel.
The SJL Foundation plans to raise £100,000 in year one. 45% of proceeds will go to the SJL Foundation Start-Up business fund, 45% will go to Acorn’s children’s hospices and 10% will go into a staff pot to be match funded for SJL staff’s own charity endeavours.
The eight businesses recognised at the event were:
RunTrack, a company that will provide sports sessions for young people in some of London’s most deprived areas and they will be able to find them via an online platform that will be built from the grant money.
Good Things Gifts, a three-month old company that sells sustainably-produced ethical toys and gifts from around the world, including beach play sets produced from plastic washed up on beaches.
Femaletradesperson.co.uk – a concept that allows consumers to find women trade professionals in a sector traditionally dominated by male workers. (Surely tradespersons who identify as female, and are therefore approved by Trans activists? – Ed)
Nottinghamshire-based Janice Rose Lingerie is a bra fitting and bra selling business, which has donated 10,000 bras to women in Gambia; She will travel to the country to fit the underwear to women there on the 25th November 2019.
SB Shop, which is run by a disabled model, and specialises in fashionable inclusive clothing for all people including both able bodied and disabled people and it is specially designed to also include people in wheelchairs, or who may be seated for a long time, or people who require prosthetics.
London-based MDJ Walls uses plastic and silk flowers to create beautiful backgrounds for weddings and other events.
MindRun4Girls, which works with schools and families to provide girls aged 9-12 years old with opportunities to join running groups and learn mindfulness techniques.
EmPads, a Cambridge-based business that has invented a sanitary towel made from fast fashion clothing, which it is set to export to India. It will help reduce carbon emissions from the production and distribution of fast fashion, one of the world’s biggest contributors to carbon emissions and provides affordable sanitary care products for potentially half a billion females in the world.