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Reaching for the Starlings: 15 start-up entrepreneurs to watch in 2021

Making up 99.3% of all businesses in the UK, start-ups are a vital component of the country’s economy. They employ nearly half the entire workforce and generate more than £1.6 trillion in turnover.

Along with our partners Starling Bank, the Great British Entrepreneur Awards prides itself on supporting exciting entrepreneurs making waves in the UK. Here are our 15 most exciting start-up entrepreneurs to watch in 2021.

Avila Chidume

Avila Chidume - Avila.Diana

Avila Chidume is the founder of Avila.Diana, a greetings card and gift business that is on a mission to normalise the industry for underrepresented groups such as BAME, LGBTQ+, and disabled communities. Launched in 2018, the business also provides a platform and support for minority artists to flourish.

Clean Kitchen

Mikey Pearce & Verity Bowditch - Clean Kitchen Club

Mikey Pearce and Verity Bowditch are the founders of Clean Kitchen Club, a plant-based and healthy fast food restaurant. Launched early in the first lockdown, Clean Kitchen Club has six venues across London and is soon launching a DIY meal kit service and marketplace for plant-based ingredients.

Zahra Khan

Zahra Khan - Feya

Zahra Khan is the founder of Feya, a luxury, health-conscious cafe and restaurant with two locations in London. A graduate of the Tante Marie Culinary Academy, Zahra aims to ‘channel a beautiful blend of art and food to create an escape for those visiting’. In partnership with Young Women’s Trust, Feya Cares donates 10% of profits to help ‘achieve economic justice” for women.

Victoria Collins

Victoria Collins - Growing Urban

Victoria Collins is the founder of Growing Urban, a gardening business on a mission to help city centre residents grow flowers, food and plants no matter how little space they have. It sells individual seed packs and growing kits tailored to different urban growing spaces whether it’s a garden, greenhouse or small spaces like balconies and window boxes.

Cian Howlett - Holler

Cian Howlett is the founder of Holler, a contemporary and luxury boutique store for dog clothing, accessories and homewares. Based in Brighton, Holler designs its own range of products and sells high-end brands from across the UK and abroad, focusing on creative and handmade collections.

Johnny Boufarhat - Hopin

Johnny Boufarhat is the founder of Hopin, a digital platform for online and virtual live events. Launched in 2018, Hopin saw the number of live events hosted on its platform soar in 2020 and throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition to live events, Hopin allows users to network one-on-one, exchange virtual business cards, explore interactive exhibition stands, watch keynote presentations and host breakout sessions and discussions.

Gemma Metcalfe-Beckers

Gemma Metcalfe-Beckers - Mutha.Hood

Gemma Metcale-Beckers is the founder of Mutha.Hood, a women and girlswear clothing and lifestyle brand designed to empower women and girls through positive messaging. The majority of its clothing range is emblazoned with the slogan ‘Strong Girls Club’, while children’s books and puzzles depict inspirational women and women in stereotypically male occupations.

Taeya and Maya

Taeya & Maya Abdell-Majeed - No Guilt Bakes

Sisters Taeya and Maya Abdell-Majeed are the founders of No Guilt Bakes, an online bakery that delivers freshly made, keto-friendly cakes and bakes to your door. The sisters launched the business after losing a combined 40kg through their ketogenic diets over two years, in which time they struggled to find affordable sugar-free/keto-friendly treats.

Stephanie May Elswood

Stephanie-May Elswood - Sasstainable

Stephanie-May Elswood is the founder of Sasstainable, a range of ‘sassy and sustainable’ lifestyle products. Sasstainable sells cutlery, toothbrushes, collapsible cups, and silicone food pouches that are as ‘eye-catching’ as they are kind to the planet. Stephanie-May started the business to help the world ‘embrace sustainable living at home and on the go’.

Skin + Me

James Mishreki - Skin + Me

James Mishreki is the founder of Skin + Me, a skincare company that provides personalised products that are entirely customised according to customers’ skin goals. Backed by a team of expert dermatologists, Skin + Me holds a consultation with customers to determine what they want to achieve with their skin - clear spots, reduce lines or wrinkles etc - and sends them their prescribed products every month.

Paula Quazi & Nick Green - Smol

Paula Quazi and Nick Green are the founders of Smol, a range of eco-friendly cleaning products delivered directly to your door. The ‘world’s most concentrated’ laundry capsules and dishwasher tablets can be delivered through the letterbox and use fewer chemicals, while its refillable fabric conditioner and surface spray bottles are designed to reduce plastic waste.

Tapp'd

James O’Hara - Tapp’d Cocktails

James O’Hara is the founder of Tapp’d Cocktails, the UK’s first handcrafted and ready-to-drink cocktails that are bottled using real fruit, and vegan and gluten-free ingredients. Tapp’d bottles are stocked by independent retailers and launched with the mission of becoming the UK’s only mixologist-standard ready-to-drink cocktail brand.

Ali and Finn

Alison McDowall & Finn Prevett - The Positive Planner

Alison McDowall and Finn Prevett are the founders of The Positive Planner, a range of daily planners, journals, notebooks that inspire better mental wellbeing through the use of positive affirmations, daily reflections and mindfulness activities. The brand also runs a blog, events and workshops around mental wellbeing.

Wake

Alex Mavor & Anton Burton - Wake Skin Care

Alex Mavor and Anton Burton are the founders of Wake Skin Care, a range of skincare products for ‘Generation Connected’. Wake’s products are designed specifically to tackle the skin issues that arise from modern lifestyles, particularly those of young people who are more glued to screens and ‘always on’ than their predecessors.

Heinin Zhang

Siddhi Mittal & Heinin Zhang - YHANGRY

Siddhi Mittal and Heinin Zhang are the founders of YHANGRY, a culinary business providing private chef parties at homes in Greater London. Customers choose their restaurant-quality (but low-cost) menu before receiving the groceries and welcoming a trained chef to prepare on their chosen date. The chefs use the customers’ own equipment and utensils, ensuring an unobtrusive experience before tidying up before the night is finished.

To find out more about our partners Starling Bank.

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