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Four Birkbeck students reach the semi-finals of the Mayor's Entrepreneur Competition

This year four Birkbeck students progressed to the semi-finals of the annual competition.

Students walking in the main Birkbeck campus area

Each year the Mayor’s Entrepeneur Competition invites London’s students to produce viable and sustainable business ideas, with winners getting £20,000 to start-up their business, alongside expert mentoring.  

Birkbeck’s semi-finalists are:   

Founder of Art School+, a service which connects early career and underserved artists with unique paid commissions. Central to Ella’s business is the desire to support both artists and organisations with bespoke training and advice before, during and after the commissioning process.  

Founder of FoxGlove, a sustainable fashion brand that creates stylish gloves for people with Raynaud's Syndrome. Made from 100% merino wool, and packed with biodegradable packaging, Alice’s business aims to offer an attractive and planet-conscious alternative to the usually utilitarian and synthetic medical devices currently available to those living with Raynaud's. 

Founder of Ms. Ray, a luxury online women’s clothing catering to women of diverse ethnicities. A key aim of Anthonia’s business is to offer sophisticated, classy, and comfortable clothing silhouettes, to provide a fresh perspective to traditional clothing 

Founder of Circular Solution, a vending machine that provides refills for personal care products such as shower gels and fabric care soap. Clara’s hope with her business is to provide a solution to the single-use plastic problem faced by society at present. The business plan includes offering recyclable containers manufactured from plastic collected and donated by Circular Solution users.  

A thrilled Ella said: The Mayors Entrepreneur Competition has been a really useful and reflective process, and one where we have learnt a lot. It’s helped us be more specific about the business and how to talk about it to others; I learnt the power of storytelling in a pitch! There were so many wonderful ideas and exciting people, it was great to be part of it. 

Ella was originally alerted to the Mayor’s Entrepreneur Competition through her involvement in Pioneer 1.0, the programme at Birkbeck designed to help students develop knowledge and skills to start a business. Similarly, it was one of Anthonia’s tutors on her BSc Business course that suggested she enter her business idea into the competition. Once deciding to enter, all contestants began the process of registering and writing their applications, giving more details about their business idea. The Mayor’s Competition offered a variety of support workshops and information to help with this process. 

An enthusiastic Clara commented: We were able to get our idea from a dream to an actionable plan! It has been one of the best experiences we ever had. 

Fellow contestant, Anthonia added: The Mayor’s Entrepreneur Competition is really an inspiration for young people who have amazing business ideas. It enables creatives to tell the world their story through their business idea. 

Upon finding out they had reached the semi-final, contestants were then asked to prepare and submit a two-minute pitch. Again, workshops and mentoring were provided by the programme to give each contestant as much knowledge as possible.  

FoxGlove founder, Alice, praised both the competition and the other contestants, remarking: I was blown away by the amazing creativity and professionalism of the other candidates. It's been a great experience to learn from them and a privilege to make it to the semi-finals with so many amazing entrepreneurs.” 

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