CFE Winter 2021 Newsletter

Wrapping up 2021 and entering 2022 with entrepreneurial cheer 


Welcome to the CFE December newsletter. We’ve had a busy but fruitful few months, and we have some fantastic updates to share with you. They include – CFE’s latest annual report (with some impressive impact data), the start of the all-new NEF+ programme, developing our new partnership with the Founders Forum Group and developments in our IAN and REN networks. Read all about them, and more, below.

We also have an online NEF+ Christmas market – with a curated selection of services and gifts from NEF+ alumni-founded businesses. We hope you find something interesting.

On behalf of the CFE team, I wish you a peaceful and happy 2022.

Warmest regards,



Annual Report

NEF+ update

Founders Forum Partnership

Research & Networks

Refugee Pilot Programme


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Annual Report 

CFE 2020/21 annual report and financial statements – positive progress. As part of CFE’s statutory reporting obligations, we produce a set of audited accounts and annual report for our charity, covering the financial year 2020/21. We’re pleased to confirm that the audit results were positive, and that CFE has weathered the challenges of the past 18 months, and the charity is in good health financially. More importantly, we gather and analyse CFE’s impact across our programmes, networks and other activities, and we’re delighted to announce some significant progress in key areas:

  • NEF+ alumni, who now number 344 across 10 cohorts that have completed the programme have launched over 200 ventures that are currently live
  • Those businesses have created more than 5,000 jobs, raised over £221 million in early-stage fundraising and, for ventures that have completed at least one external funding round, the collective valuation of that group is over £630m.

We think that’s a hugely impressive performance, since we last reported these results, especially considering the tough operating environment. The continued success of NEF+ alumni is testament to the value of the programme and the talent of our alumni.

  • We completed and reported on our UK refugee pilot programme – three of the four delivery partners secured follow-on funding for their projects. Our report recommendations input to government policy, leading to the creation of a new £14M refugee transitions outcomes fund.
  • Our Incubator and Accelerator network continues to grow and thrive, and now numbers 40 members representing nearly 90 entrepreneur support programmes.
  • Our Refugee Entrepreneurship Network continues to connect a global network of support organisations, practitioners and policy-makers.

View and download a full copy of the report here. 


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NEF+ Class of 2022-1 highlights 

NEF+ inspiration evening with Kike Oniwinde


The NEF+ 2022 cohort kicked off in September and has been going from strength to strength. They’ve been able to meet and learn in person, unlike last year’s cohort.  The energy at the workshops has been a refreshing and positive experience – the NEFers have been able to bond in “Tribes” as they have completed challenges on Entrepreneurial Problem Solving, Market Validation and Operations. Here are some highlights from the new cohort:

In Cycle 1 Oscar Sadler a scaleup participant at Wiser, rose to the entrepreneurial problem solving challenge using effectual thinking and his network to start a 20-something dating service called Single Pringles, not only has Oscar had an impressive take up to his waiting list, he’s even got a partnership with the dating app Thursday in the works. His upcoming double dating evening event will help Oscar raise some money for women’s safety charities – get in touch if you’d like to join in.

In Cycle 2 Lydia Hartley tackled the market validation challenge by putting on her coat, getting outside and wandering around Central St Martins interviewing fashion students wherever she could. Not only did she gain valuable customer feedback, but she’s also started acquiring a string of student ambassadors to help support her cause. She recently launched her sustainability-focused fashion subscription service – Don’t Shop, Swap – check it out!

Another shoutout for 2022 NEFer Kiran Thadhani for carrying out a staggering 53 customer interviews during her validation exercise and leading her Tribe to victory with an impressive showcase presentation, building on their previous win from Cycle 1.

NEFers are also making waves beyond the programme – Phil Fitzalan Howard has so far raised £200/£500k for his aptly named craft beer company – Fauna Brewing – supporting endangered species with every purchase, Grab a can if you can!


Applications for NEF+ are open

The next NEF+ cohort 

Applications for our NEF+ programme are now open If you know of an ambitious early-stage founder or entrepreneurially-driven talent working in companies, send them to us –  we’re accepting applications until March 2022.

Successful applicants will join a 6-month peer-to-peer learning environment, with access to a world-class learning programme, 1:1 executive coaching, business mentoring and access to our NEF+ network. We continue our mission to widen entrepreneurship participation by encouraging applications from founders from under-represented groups, through our scholarship scheme.


> Learn more

>Register your interest


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From NEFers, for NEFers


Thank you to our alumni donors 

We would like to thank our alumni for their donations that will be critical in supporting even more entrepreneurial leaders of the future, as we continue to scale the NEF+ programme. 

A huge thank you to Kike Oniwinde, BYP Network, (2018),  Louis Mech (2012), Ravi Patel (2012), Yang Liu, JustWears, (2018), Corbyn Munnick, Sliide (2013), Joel Gujral, MYNDUP (2020), Alex Somervell, One Third Stories, (2016), Fiona Timba (2015), Guy Riese, Up Learn, (2016), JJ Tan, Jelly (2017), Quin Murray, Krzana (2015).  

At the entrepreneurship forefront

Check out the latest milestones of our NEF+ alumni, spanning different sectors:


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NEF+ Christmas market place 

We invite you to peruse our NEF+ Christmas market place where you can explore a selection of products and services from our NEF+ alumni-founded businesses, from health and wellness to legal and marketing services. Learn more about our NEF+ Christmas market place here.


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Team Update 

Neeta Patel receives CBE

We would like to congratulate our CEO Neeta Patel on being presented with her CBE, which she was awarded in October 2020. She was presented with the CBE from HRH Princess Anne, in recognition of her services to entrepreneurship and technology. Congratulations, Neeta!


CFE welcomes our latest team members 

Alicia Davis joins as the NEF+ Founder Talent Lead, to drive the next and future rounds of NEF+ founder recruitment. In a fantastic example of the power of the NEF+ x FF partnership, Alicia joins from Founders Factory where she was the People and Talent Coordinator.


CFE’s newest team members, EJ Eames Matthew & Bella Eames Matthew


We’ve been busy growing the network’s team, and recently welcomed two new community managers who join us on the IAN and REN side of CFE. Bella Eames-Matthews and EJ Eames Matthews both join us as community managers.

Bella works towards connecting individuals, communities and systems, with a particular interest in developing supportive ecosystems for entrepreneurs. She previously managed the British Council’s Developing Inclusive and Creative Economies programme.

Emily Jane has been implementing her extensive experience across event management, administration and marketing and communications to provide support for the communities she serves. She is particularly interested in exploring the effectiveness of online, hybrid and in-person touchpoints and exploring the best options for geographically dispersed communities.

After helping Bella and EJ get up to speed, we said goodbye to Rhea who joined us in December 2020 and played a key role in supporting and developing the vital networks community. Farewell Rhea and we wish her luck in her new pastures!

We also say goodbye to Lorne Magill this month – Lorne has been working on our alumni community strategy in the second half of 2021, and has built a fantastic plan that we’ll move into implementation in 2022. She’s established herself in the NEF+ network, and will be staying in contact in her capacity as a business mentor to the Class of 2022.


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Founders Forum Partnership 

Neeta Patel, CBE and Brent Hoberman, CBE at CFE’s Christmas speaker event


On Monday 6th December, we had the pleasure of bringing Brent Hoberman, CBE together with our  network for a special Christmas evening. Brent shared his learnings whilst building, Founders Forum (“always aim to be a talent magnet”), later ending with a piece of advice for the many entrepreneurs in the room – “stay foolishly ambitious. Be comfortable with failure and keep going.”

Thank you to Brent Hoberman and our Founders Forum partners for the evening of inspiration. Also, to our donors, trustees, mentors, coaches, alumni and the members of the Home Grown Club for joining us. Bringing together some of the UK’s most ambitious entrepreneurial talent and stakeholders continues to be at the heart of CFE & the NEF+ programme. The evening was exciting reminder of what that can truly do.


Celebrating milestones by the Founders Forum family

Founders Intelligence has been acquired by Accenture, a huge validation of their Entrepreneur Driven Growth model.

Over the last eight years, they’ve succeeded in building a team that’s proven to be highly in-demand by senior leaders looking to create innovative new businesses, whilst following their entrepreneurial approach to strategy.

The team aims to expand, built on the foundation of their unique approach. They will continue their relationships with the Founders Forum ecosystem, whilst tapping into Accenture’s global scale and astonishing suite of execution capabilities.


Framework, the ‘on-demand business school for startupland’, has launched.

In a bid to help startup operators supercharge their learning, it will soon be inviting their first Founding Members onto their platform. Framework will be building a lifelong campus that “defies borders and lives in your pocket. One that grows with you from Seed to IPO. To help you soar to new heights in your career and scale companies that history will remember.”

To find out more, click here.  


Founders Keepers Berlin is now open for business, as the city proves to be one of the world’s most exciting tech hubs.


“We love the products, brands, businesses, and talent that are attracted to and come out of the city.”

This expansion will act as a node in their network of international talent and innovation. Prior to announcing it, the team had already built a great track record in Germany after working with a variety of businesses, such as Personio, CargoOne, Choco, Everphone, Delivery Hero, OnRunning, Get Your Guide, Ottonova, Allbirds, Vinted, Trafi, and Voi.


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Research & Networks 

Incubator network reconvenes in Nottingham

CFE’s Incubator and Accelerator hosted its 4th annual conference in September at Nottingham’s brand new Dryden Enterprise Centre with speakers including Sara Wallin, CEO of award winning Swedish incubator Chalmers Ventures. The network has now expanded to 40 institutions and around 90 programmes, recently welcoming the University of Westminster. This month we launched an Open Doors scheme, allowing members to use each others’ facilities. Plans for 2022 include our first international delegation to visit leading Parisian incubators.


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Refugee Pilot Programme  

Refugee entrepreneurship summit heads to Venice

CFE’s Refugee Entrepreneurship Network convened for its 4th annual summit online in October, with representatives joining from 25 countries. The network continues to grow in the UK and internationally, with five member-led working groups facilitating exchange and collaboration among 120 organisations across 30 countries. Next October, the network will reconvene in person for the 5th annual summit at The Human Safety Net’s new Venice Hub on St Mark’s Square, Venice. To discuss opportunities to support the network and the summit, please contact Matt Smith via


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Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and a happy New Year 

As always, a particular thank you to our donors and supporters, without whom our work would not be possible.

Best wishes Neeta.


Thank you to all our donors

CFE donors 2021


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.


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