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Reaching for the Starlings: GBEA’s 15 start-up entrepreneurs to watch in 2020

From pet food to contact lenses, these start-up entrepreneurs have launched businesses to revolutionise and disrupt industries in 2020 and beyond. 

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 start-ups to watch in 2020.


John & Leo Lashley – Brooklyn Brownie Co

Father and son duo, John and Leo, launched Brooklyn Brownie Co. in the summer of 2019. They cooked up chocolatey treats covered in all sorts of sweets to sell by the dozen via the post. Starting from local deliveries, to requests for mail orders worldwide, demand for their sugary treats went through the roof.


Will Dean MBE & David Spindler – Electric Playbox

Electric Playbox was founded on the belief that play is about much more than just having fun. They provide totally new types of immersive group entertainment, where groups can come together to play interactive games and challenges. Shared play in particular has the power to bring us together, create bonds and remind us of what it means to be human. Will and David are challenging the ever-increasing issue of social isolation caused by technology and flipping it on its head.


Shan Hanif – Genflow

Uplifting influencers and creating CEOs. Genflow is a full service brand creation agency with proven success across all verticals including clothing, beauty, cosmetics, fitness, accessories and technology based businesses. The company works side-by-side with each client and provides an exclusive framework to help transform ambitions and goals into a reality.


Khalia Ismain – Jamii

Jamii is a discount card and discovery platform, making it easy for you to find and shop at the best of independent black-owned businesses in the UK. Khalia launched Jamii in August 2016 and is on a mission to make shopping at black-owned brands as seamless and instinctive as any other.


Gemma Harling – Luneia Skincare

Luneia Skincare is a curated range of high-efficacy products, each designed to target specific skin care needs. Driven by science, with clinically-proven active ingredients, and precisely formulated, they place just as  much attention on what they keep out as what they put in.The products in the Luneia range deliver so you’re in control of a skincare regime entirely personal to you.


Solveiga Pakštaite – Mimica

Founder Solveiga’s mission is to radically reduce scarcity and unnecessary waste. Mimica Touch is a temperature-sensitive indicator cap or label for food freshness. It helps you store your food at the right temperature, and reduces food waste by showing you when your food actually spoils, rather than relying on the wasteful worst-case scenario expiry date.


Hannah Carter & Polly Mason – OGGS

What started as Hannah and Polly’s dream to eat cake and avoid any animal cruelty inolved in cake-making, turned into a vision for change. Their mission is to give you plant-based alternatives to everyday foods that taste as delicious as the original. This is while  doing their best to positively change the future of the planet, animals and people with every, little, bite.


James Routledge & George Bettany – Sanctus

James & George have built  the team at Sanctus to be coaches  or ‘personal trainers for the mind’ in the workplace. They now work with over 60 businesses, with offices in both the UK and internationally, all helping them to fulfill their mission of giving people a space to talk and to one day build gyms on the high street.


Aneisha Soobroyen & Jack Walker – Scrumbles

Aneisha and Jack tried various pet foods over the years but an affordable, good quality pet food that their pets loved seemed an impossible feat. They spent a year studying canine and feline nutrition then, with the help of expert nutritionists, ceaselessly experimented with recipes to create the optimal nutrition for cats and dogs that they (their pets!) also loved to eat.


Sam Worthy – Tailwise

Sam launched Tailwise to connect responsible dog parents with ethical breeders, providing a secure platform for you to find, get to know, and pay for your forever dog. By verifying everyone who uses their site, whether they’re a dog breeder, a rescue centre, or someone looking to find a puppy, they guarantee great homes, healthy dogs, and absolutely no puppy farmers.


Carly & Fran – The Beeswax Wraps

Along with the detrimental effect plastics were having on our environment, Carly and Fran were also worried about the effects on their and the general population’s health. From chemicals that leach from the plastics into our food and drink, to the broader global impact of excess waste, they felt inspired by the beeswax wraps available in America and Australia, but couldn’t find anything like it in the UK. So they decided to start making their own.


Bonita & Benjamina Ebuehi – The Sister Table

The Sister Table is a food and lifestyle brand founded by sisters Benjamina and Bonita. Sharing a mutual love of enjoying food in good company with purposeful conversation, both believe that a shared dining experience encourages inclusion and a real sense of belonging. The Sister Table was born in the hopes that women would have a space to regularly meet, eat and share.


Alexandra Vellasco Longton – Tiba Tempeh

Whilst on the Gili Islands, Alexandra was served a local tempeh dish and was blown away. After a quick search on the web, she found out that tempeh is packed with protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals. All this from just three natural ingredients – soybeans, water and a live culture. She wanted to find a way to bring the superfood to the people back home. Enter Tiba Tempeh.


Ana Hayter & Tori May – Waffle & Co

Ana and Tori began their quest to change opinions of the humble waffle back in July 2018 by creating events called Women Who Waffle; the idea was to bring together local women through a love of wine, conversation and waffles. The events quickly became popular, so they began collaborating with local businesses to host events that welcomed everyone.


Ashleigh Hinde – Waldo

From real, lived experience founder Ashleigh knew that contact lenses didn’t need to be so expensive. So she  embarked on a mission to find a way to simplify the contact lens process for herself and her customers. The result was Waldo: the ultimate destination for premium, effortless, affordable vision which can be sold directly online.


Take a look at last years Start-Up Entrepreneurs to Watch here