On Monday, 12 April, King’s announced this year’s David Walsh Award winners, recognising seven budding businesses for their “entrepreneurial resilience and recovery”.
As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the David Walsh Awards 2021, the College’s Entrepreneurial Institute’s grant programme, was aimed at honouring the perseverance of the King’s20 Accelerator cohort. When applying for an award, each start-up was asked to explain how they demonstrated entrepreneurial resilience and recovery, as well as how they overcame challenges and learned from them throughout the pandemic.
The awards are funded by David Walsh, an accomplished and experienced CEO in the tech sector serving as Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Entrepreneurship Institute. After starting his career at IBM he founded Crimsonwing, an international software and services business that was acquired by KPMG in 2015. His role as Entrepreneur-in-Residence includes assisting to advise and train the 20 chosen ventures on the King’s20 Accelerator programme. In 2020, Walsh received the Helen Hudson Award affiliated with the King’s Distinguished Alumni Awards for his outstanding work at the university.
This year’s awards saw “£25,000 divided among seven of the King’s20 start-ups to ’empower them to create a positive impact to impact and fuel their businesses’.”
The winners were:
GrandNanny – Combating the lack of affordable, high-quality, and easily accessible childcare, GrandNanny’s “matching platform and payroll service offers parents the reliable, long-term, local childcare they dream of by recruiting and training local older neighbours to provide part-time childcare”.
When Roar reached out to Adele Aitchison, co-founder of GrandNanny, she explained that since their mission is to “connect communities across generations”, Grandnanny’s plans for the future are to keep growing and creating as many rewarding intergenerational childcare jobs as possible which is “particularly important as unemployment amongst the over 50s has grown by a third in the last year”. Eventually, GrandNanny hopes “to see a GrandNanny at every school gate across the UK!” When we asked GrandNanny about their plans for the David Walsh award, Aitchison said it will go towards “building our new platform so we can scale more efficiency”. She finished by adding: “David and the whole King’s20 team at The Entrepreneurship Institute have been incredibly supportive during a tough year for everyone.”
Verdn – Fighting the “costly, slow, ineffective, and confusing” nature of increasing sustainability for businesses, Verdn offers e-commerce businesses moving towards conscious consumerism “an effortless way to be more sustainable through a 5-minute software integration that lets them attach high-value environmental impacts directly onto product sales”.
Banana Scoops – Answering to the “increasing demand for healthier, natural ice cream”, Banana Scoops provides customers with “a healthy alternative to traditional ice cream by using natural and plant-based ingredients and avoiding preservatives, artificial ingredients and sugars”.
When Roar spoke to Jess Salamanca, founder and CEO of Banana Scoops, she stated: “As it stands you can say I wear all the hats! My role requires me independently carrying out multiple roles within the business. It is my responsibility to manage people, including two new members of my Banana Scoops team that have been hired via the kickstart scheme. I also solely handle all the finances, supplier relations, sales elements, branding, etc. of the business.” When asked about how she plans to use her award money, Salamanca said: “I intend on using the award money to fund a New Product Development project, which will be used to develop our new and improved recipe. We are so thankful for this award and believe it can give us the opportunity to really make a difference to our products. Hopefully it can take the business to the next level, and allow us to really thrive in the future.” As for Banana Scoop’s plans for the future, Jess explained: “Our goal is for world domination and bananas everywhere! We want new stockists, new flavours and new products. We’d like to start exporting internationally, and get our Nice Cream known worldwide! I would also love to build a team in the future, and have more people on board with the evolution of Banana Scoops.”
SoJo – In response the struggle faced by many secondhand shoppers to get their closed altered or repaired, SoJo’s “app/website and delivery service offer [their] customers an easy and hassle-free way to get their clothes altered and repaired by connecting them with the services of local Seamster businesses in just a few simple clicks.”
Malebox – Targeting the increasing problem that is the decrease of male fertility in the developed world, Malebox offers its customers “the first comprehensive at home male fertility test” to “empower men to take control of their fertility health, by educating them to make informed lifestyle decisions to optimise and track their fertility health”.
ZauberMusic – Created for “frustrated Chinese music learners who waste months finding teachers, who are stuck with out-of-date learning materials and are not becoming well-rounded musicians”, ZauberMusic’s online courses provide their customers with “high-quality, reliable and structured learning, using pre-recorded videos and written content”.
Advicely – Aimed at helping small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with difficulty advertising digitally due to either cost or hesitancy over its success, Advicely’s software “offers customers the ability to advertise at a very high quality, but without the high cost, time and knowledge commitment, by automating the advertising workflow” which “includes using an initial data sweep of the client to assess the best type of advertising campaign to run”.
When Roar spoke with Amar Mehta, CEO of Advicely, he explained how they use artificial intelligence to allow business owners to merely “push a few buttons” to “get live with high quality advertising in just a few minutes”. He went on to describe how their system lets business owners “understand how much impact their advertising is having on their bottom line” which is crucial now more than ever in what will soon be a post-Covid-19 world. When asked how they plan to use their award money, Mehta responded: “We’re super excited and grateful for the award win. With the money we are creating our own launch campaign with targeted advertising and public relations (using our software of course!). This will help us shout about who we are to relevant potential clients. Ideally this will drive a lot of noise about what we do and how we can help businesses.” As for their plans for the future, Advicely stated they are “hoping to launch in the next month and have a list of clients we are launching with. With that we hope our software proves popular and grows at a really good pace meaning we can look for investment in the near future.”