CFE Summer Newsletter 2022

Summer 2022 Update: things to know, to do and to celebrate!



NEF+ update

Founders Forum Partnership

Incubator and Accelerator Network

Useful things you need to know


NEF+ Update 

NEF+ shortlisted for UKBAA’s  ‘Accelerator of the Year’

NEF+ team at UKBAA’s Awards 2022

We are delighted to share that the NEF+ programme was shortlisted for the ‘Accelerator of the Year’ category at the UK Business Angels Association Awards 2022. We are proud to have The NEF+ Programme – Centre for Entrepreneurs amongst the esteemed programmes supporting some of the most ambitious early-stage founders across the UK.

This award celebrates the UK best programme for supporting early-stage founders. We are proud to be nominated alongside other high-impact programmes including the Advanced Propulsion Centre, Circklo, DigitalHealth, MSDUK, SETsquared Bristol, Sustainable Ventures, Tech Nation and Royal Academy of Engineering. Congratulations to DigitalHealth.London winning the award – and to the other finalists!

Sadly, we didn’t win – London Digital Health were the worthy winners – but getting NEF+ onto the shortlist was a major vote of confidence from the ecosystem in our progress and achievements. The NEF+ team, along with Mike Bandar did attend the awards ceremony – enjoyed a fantastic evening and did share a table with the winners of the Seed VC category – Ascension.

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Applications for the next NEF+ cohort are open! 

Applications for the next NEF+ cohort, starting September 2022 are now open. We love referrals from the CFE and NEF+ networks – Are you or do you know any ambitious early stage founders who want to take their businesses to the next level with NEF+? Connect them to our Founder Talent Lead, Alicia Davis: 

Successful applicants will join an incredible cohort of ambitious and like-minded founders, who want to accelerate their ventures and personal development, on a unique 6-month development journey. NEF+ provides access to a world-class learning programme, 1:1 executive coaching, business mentoring and access to our NEF+ network and events. Each successive NEF+ cohort continues to drive our mission to increase founder diversity, through our fee assistance option for founders from under-represented communities. Learn more about NEF+ here.

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Highlights from the A2022 cohort 

The current NEF+ cohort – A2022 is in full swing. The cohort have just reached the half-way point in the programme – completing the Operations and Scaling cycle, learning about and working on business challenges relating to scaling their ventures in their tribe challenges, and we were joined by Thriva COO Eliot Brooks (2014) who ran through the Thriva growth story, from idea to 130 strong team and the key challenge and successes along the way.

The second half of the programme switches focus to analytics, advocacy and people & culture. Thoughts are already turning to the final phase of the journey – pitch days – 10-14th October 2022. We plan to run pitch week as a series of hybrid events, as last time – they were a great success and allowed lots of our network to see and support NEFers.

Check out some of our current cohort and their interesting ventures:

Sara LangridgeDigital Pets is a Web3 based platform, which allows users to grow, pet, train and interact with their augmented reality pet that lives on their phone. Creatively the aim is to achieve hyper-realism. Brand takeovers would allow personalised content to be bought and exchanged on the app enabling the user to style their pet.


Leon ZussnerBobbll is a recruitment platform for Gen Z talent. Bobbll creates a gamification aspect to applying for jobs and aims to focus on candidate experience and create a frictionless, engaging and personalised recruitment experience


Hissah Al Abdulsalam – Not too Complicated is a secured platform for discussing complex and challenging medical and surgical cases. A global, confidential and open-access platform to have a personalised expert medical opinion about a complicated case from world-class doctors and experts. Initially being a subscription based service, with the longer-term plan to create partnerships with health institutions. 


Nibi LawsonKinky Apothecary is an AI-driven hyper-personalisation platform to improve the experience of people with textured hair, using AI to offer the community a more personalised experience. The platform also allows users to track hair health and progress on any issues they may have, it reminds them of important things in their regime.


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NEF+ Alumni Highlights 

Claudio Owusu’s Gusto

Invest in the future of nutrition and beauty for Black womenbacked by Reckitt and Founders Factory, NEF+ 2018’s Nomshado Michelle Baca is currently raising a £500,000 round for their venture, Sān Wellness. Read more about the venture and how you can participate.

Samuel Knight’s (NEF+ 2016) Pollen8, a boutique innovation consultancy, has been acquired by PwC

Claudio Owusu’s (2021) Gusto was recognised as one of Virgin’s most exciting sustainable startups of the year.

Marriane Hughes (2016) was listed in this year’s Forbes 30 under 30 Asia list – recognising her work in founding Kno Global, a platform used by H&M and Decathlon to streamline and humanize the supply chain.

Two of our alumni-founded ventures, Thriva (Eliot Brooks [2014] and Hamish Grierson [2012]) and Billion Dollar Boy (Edward East [2012]), made it to the Sunday Times 100 list as some of Britain’s fastest growing companies. The ventures saw 261.37% (£74.4m in sales) and 83.84% (£16.85m in sales) in growth respectively. 

Edward East’s (2012) Billion Dollar Boy was also featured on Yahoo!, looking back at its early days before becoming a 110+ person agency that is now spread across three continents.

Darren Tenkorang’s (2017) TRIM-IT was selected as one of the 40 startups to join Google’s Black Founders Fund 2022.

James Harford-Tyrer’s (2015) CUDONI was named one of the best fashion resale platforms by GQ. 

Claire Rampen’s (2017) Reath was recognised as one of the top circular economy startups to watch.  

James Nightingall’s (2020) has secured additional funding to build its AI-driven marketplace for new builds. 

CVC Young Innovator Awards 2022

CVC, one of CFE’s longest-standing donors, ran their latest UK Young Innovators Awards event earlier this week – the eighth year that the awards have taken place. They are an exclusive opportunity for NEF+ participants and alumni to pitch for a share of a £40,000 grant fund – aimed at businesses that have a strong and positive social impact.

Five founders pitched to a panel of CVC’s executive team, after being shortlisted from a long list of applications earlier in July. Two winners were selected: Claudine Adeyemi’s (2020) CareerEar and Julian Boaitey’s (2021) Yendy will each receive £20,000 grants from CVC to support their growth plans. The three other finalists will each receive a mentoring support from CVC experts and specialists over the coming 12 months.

Judy Marsden, CVC’s Director of Philanthropy, said:
“What a great group of entrepreneurs we saw at this year’s CVC Young Innovator Awards! They had a clear passion for their businesses and it was exciting to hear about their plans. My colleagues and I look forward to following their progress and we will mobilise the resources of CVC to help them to grow and scale up.”

Results of our Alumni Pitch Event

We hosted a NEF+ Alumni Pitch Evening in February, giving our alumni the opportunity to pitch their ventures to our wider CFE angel investor network. Off the back of that event, two NEFers have managed to close their rounds, and others have since built on the valuable feedback and investor introductions for the near future. Read more here.

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Founders Forum Updates

EQL:her panel at London Tech Week 2022

• Founders Law, a tech-focused law-firm by Chronos Law, joins the FF family. More here.

• EQL:HER has co-launched EQL:Pledge in a bid to widen VC funding to underrepresented women founders and entrepreneurs. Founding supporters include Hillary Rodham Clinton, Cherie Blair CBE and June Sarpong OBE.  More here.

• Founders Forum convened in London with over 600 guests and 150+ unicorn founders in attendance. Speaking to the leaders of the European tech ecosystem, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made an appearance through a hologram to urge the technology sector to come together to support Ukraine. More here.

• The 3-day London Tech Week conference brought together the ecosystem’s stakeholders and innovators to spark conversations across sustainability (ClimateTech), Web3, diversity (EQL:her), and more.

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Join us for CFE Incubator Network Conference in Birmingham 

CFE’s Incubator and Accelerator 4th annual conference at Nottingham’s Dryden Enterprise Centre

CFE’s Incubator and Accelerator Network has welcomed Cranfield University, the London School of Economics, and University College Birmingham as new members in recent months. 

The network’s 5th annual conference will now take place 20-21st September at Birmingham City University’s brand new STEAMhouse incubator. The conference (rescheduled from June due to train strikes) will bring together incubator managers, investors, entrepreneurs, and policymakers from across the UK.

Find out more here.

Incubator and accelerator study to launch in September

The IAN conference will see the launch of CFE’s incubator and accelerator mapping study. We have been working with Dr Chris Haley on the UK’s the largest survey of start-up accelerators and incubators in the UK ever conducted. The six-month programme will launch a detailed report this September. 

An updated directory will be published, alongside analysis of how the landscape has changed over the last five years. 

If you run an incubator and accelerator and have yet to respond to our survey, please take 10 minutes to contribute towards our research here.

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Refugee summit heads to Venice

This October, the Refugee Entrepreneurship Network will gather in St Mark’s Square, Venice for its fifth annual international summit, bringing together 180 world-leading refugee entrepreneurship practitioners, researchers, policymakers, funders, and impact investors.

Learn more and apply to attend here.

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Useful things you need to know 

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Entrepreneurship recently launched an important report on entrepreneurship education with The Entrepreneurs Network (TEN). CFE contributed to the consultations and endorses the key findings and recommendations.

Earlier this month they launched an interesting report on the subject, with a particular focus on secondary school age groups. This is interesting, as it seems to us here at CFE that there is something in the air on this topic and we need to dust off some of our own ideas for what needs to be done, possibly with a pilot activity in the manner of those we have done in the past for prisoners and refugee entrepreneur groups.

If you are interested in entrepreneurship in schools, please contact Tim and, meanwhile, read the TEN report findings.


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Thank you to all our donors

Lord Agnew of Oulton, parliamentary under secretary of state, Department for Education; Ian Armitage, co-founder, Isfield Investments; Lord Davies of Abersoch, chairman, Corsair Capital; Sir Lloyd Dorfman, founder, Travelex; The Golden Bottle TrustDavid Gregson, co-founder, Phoenix; Andrew Joy, senior advisor, Stonehage Fleming; Lord Lupton, ex-chairman, Greenhill Europe; Sir Keith Mills, ex-deputy chairman, LOCOG; Monica Monajem, managing director, Amitis Partners; Jon Moulton, founder, Better Capital; Vin Murria, entrepreneur, investor, philanthropist and HG Capital board member; Rajal Patni & Rohit Patni, Lavanya Plus; Oliver Pawle, chair, board practice, Korn Ferry; David Pearl, David Pearlman Foundation; Andy Phillipps, entrepreneur and early stage technology investor; Mark Pritchard, founder, Allied Minds; The Rayne FoundationMike Rees, former deputy group CEO, Standard Chartered; Sir John Ritblat, honorary president, The British Land Company PLC; Gerald Ronson, Gerald Ronson Foundation; Sir Nigel Rudd, chairman, Business Growth Fund; Sadell FellowshipElisabeth Scott, former trustee, New Entrepreneurs Foundation; David Tibble, Inspiration Trust; Jean-Baptiste Wautier, managing partner, BC Partners; The Hon. Charles Wigoder, executive chairman, Utility Warehouse. Corbyn Munnick, CEO Sliide Class of 2013, Joel Gujral, Founder & CEO MYNDUP Class of 2020, Alex Somervell, Co-Founder & CEO One Third Stories Class of 2016, Fiona Timba, Legal Counsel Barclays Class of 2015, Guy Riese, CEO & Founder Up Learn Class of 2016, JJ Tan, Founder Jelly Class of 2017 and Quin Murray, Co-Founder & CPO Krzana Class of 2015, Kike Oniwinde, BYP Network, (2018), Louis Mech (2012), Ravi Patel (2012),