Sojo also creates space for discussion around sustainable fashion “What I needed was a really easy and hassle-free way for me to get my clothes altered and repaired – that’s when Sojo was born.” Sojo’s mission is to give clothes a second chance to keep them out of landfill for longer. Sojo made the 2020
Fighting food waste – 2015 winner Mimica
How we helped student entrepreneur Solveiga Pakštaite transform a smart idea into a £3.85 million business
Every year each UK household tosses away up to £400 worth of food. It’s a massive waste of money and resources that inspired student entrepreneur Solveiga to enter our competition in 2015 with a truly innovative solution.
“At Mimica, our company mission is to radically reduce unnecessary waste, starting with food”, she says. “That’s the idea I pitched at the competition. And what we’ve created is a label that turns bumpy whenever food should no longer be consumed. There’s a gel inside that’s temperature sensitive and can be calibrated to lots of different perishable products, which is what provides its accuracy.”
Solveiga says her idea was at a “super-early stage” when she entered, though she had the initial design concept. Our programme helped her develop the skills to present the idea to potential investors in the best possible light.
“I found the training sessions leading up to the final pitching event really helpful”, she says. “I got really useful mentorship and still use some of the tips I gained about pitching today.”
The judges were certainly impressed, and she won £15,000 and the coveted first prize. “It set me up!” she says. It gave me a big chunk of funding that would have been difficult to get otherwise. [Today] we’ve raised probably about a million pounds in grant funding as well as investments like people buying shares in the business.”
Right now Hackney-based Mimica employs twelve people and is constantly working on new products. The pace may be hectic, but Solveiga relishes the opportunity to make a difference.
“Since I started my business, not once have I had a ‘Sunday night blues’ situation”, she says. “I’m just so excited to get back to moving us a step forward, to launching and making a real impact.”
Meanwhile, she has advice for future entrants who want to follow in her footsteps. “Don’t just focus on winning or not winning, really take the most you can out of the valuable training sessions and get to know the other people in the competition. “You never know, you may end up needing each other’s support six months down the line or even a month down the line. So, get however much you can from the experience because it’s probably the most thorough student competition that I was part of.”
Cosi Care eczema relief – 2019 Creative Industries winner
Lauren Bell, 2019 Creative Industries Award winner, Cosi Care “When I entered the competition, I was a designer. Now I am an entrepreneur.” Lauren Bell, used her experiences with chronic eczema to create Cosi Care – a line of products to relieve the symptoms of eczema and other skin conditions. Designed with children in mind,
Fighting electronic waste – 2018 Tech finalist
Re-inventing the circuit board for the circular economy Tech Finalist at the 2018 awards, Jiva made it through to the finals with their key product Soluboard. Soluboard is designed to be a replacement for the plastic base of circuit boards used in all our electronics. The boards are made with natural fibres and a number