Start-ups win business grant and mentoring from SJL Foundation

All finalists emerge victorious as part of foundation's official launch

Start-ups win business grant and mentoring from SJL Foundation


By Terry Gangcuangco

“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.”

Those were the words of SJL Insurance founder and chief executive Simon Lancaster, who is also founder and trustee of the SJL Foundation, when eight UK start-ups were each awarded a £2,000 business grant and one year’s free mentoring for the start-up business ideas they presented yesterday (October 22) at the House of Commons.

Lancaster stated: “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 businesses, and other companies are on a bigger scale where their business has the potential to impact half a billion people on the planet.”

The grant recipients are RunTrack, Good Things Gifts,, Janice Rose Lingerie, SB Shop, MDJ Walls, MindRun4Girls, and EmPads. They were judged by Lancaster; former Dragons’ Den star and Red Letter Days founder Rachel Elnaugh; crowdfunding expert and Tribe First founder John Auckland; and Kerry Hopkins, founder of Baron & Hopkins and Broadcast Ready.

“We are looking forward to mentoring all eight winners to see them fast-track to success,” added Lancaster. “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 get on their feet too.”

For its first year, the SJL Foundation aims to raise £100,000 – with proceeds going to its start-up business fund (45%), Acorn’s children’s hospices (45%), and a staff pot (10%) to be match-funded for SJL Insurance workforce’s own charity endeavours.

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