And the winner of ‘just IMAGINE if…’ is…

For the past few months we have been working hard alongside Ella’s Kitchen founder Paul Lindley on his exciting idea about ideasjust IMAGINE if…

just IMAGINE if… has had one mission from the beginning: to identify and help develop extraordinary ideas.

Companies, partnerships, not-for-profit organisations or individuals with an extraordinary idea that could help alleviate one of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals but need research input to help it grow were able to apply. After viewing hundreds of excellent entries, the panel narrowed it down to ten amazing finalists.

We were lucky enough to attend the final on Thursday 28th Feb, and listened to amazing talks from the likes of Brompton MD Will Butler-Adams, former Dragon Piers Linney, and Apprentice season 5 winner Yasmina Siadatan to name a few, with the event chaired by the brilliant Seven Hills co-founder Michael Hayman

After enjoying the outstanding pitches from the ten budding entrepreneurs, we are excited to announce that after a vote from all the attendees, the winner is ALEXANDER WANKEL.

Alexander showcased his idea of tapping into Peru’s native crops and helping to support local smallholder farmers, creating plant-based milks made with climate smart Andean grains and quinoa called ‘MilQ’.

We want to extend a HUGE congratulations to Alexander for winning the competition, but we’re confident that all of the finalists will get support in developing their ideas by either a collaboration with us or one of the other incredible businessmen and women who attended the event.

You can see Alexander’s submission video and those of the other nine finalists here.

just IMAGINE if… is to return next year, so keep your eyes open for details on how to apply towards the end of 2019. In the meantime should you have a product or service you need support developing, we welcome anyone to get in touch with the Knowledge Transfer Centre to discuss how we may be able to help you shape your future.

TVBLEP announce their award winning funding escalator increase to £11.3m!

In 2013, Thames Valley Berkshire LEP invested nearly half its Growing Places Fund to create the TVB Funding Escalator to help local high-growth businesses. Managed by The FSE Group, the Funding Escalator has so far supported 51 companies and invested £8.3million of loans and equity, creating or safeguarding 594 jobs in the LEP area. In addition, £21million of private finance has been leveraged to help companies grow. The funding escalator has supported businesses from a wide range of different sectors, including Tech & Digital, Life Sciences, MedTech, Cultural & Creative and Food & Beverages.

To build on this success, the LEP has committed a further £3million to make the £11.3million an ‘evergreen fund’; and increased both the size of loans available up to £300,000 and the period up to 5 years. The increased scale of the fund will mean that it is self-sustaining so that it can continue to support SMEs in Berkshire in perpetuity. This represents a significant investment for the LEP and reinforces its determination to support SMEs in the area, from any sector, that want to grow and create wealth locally.

Robin Barnes, Programme Lead for Enterprise, Innovation & Business Growth at Thames Valley Berkshire LEP says: “We created the first funding escalator in the UK with the aim to transform the way businesses can grow by creating an enduring legacy of business investment, innovation and growth in our sub region. This increased capacity and evergreen status is a real game changer and I would encourage ambitious businesses to get in touch with The FSE Group.”

Chief Executive of The FSE Group, Dean Mayer, adds: “We are delighted to continue our close working relationship with Thames Valley Berkshire LEP. The Funding Escalator is here to help support businesses looking to grow substantially in Berkshire, and we are extremely proud of our achievements over the last 5 years. This new injection of £3million allows us to press ahead in reaching even more innovative and high-quality businesses in the area.”

 

**All text courtesy of TVBLEP on http://www.thamesvalleyberkshire.co.uk/news?id=69**