CFE Spring 2021 Newsletter

Welcome to the Centre for Entrepreneurs Spring update: a Time for Renewed Purpose and Fresh Ambitions!

The CFE Spring newsletter is the most optimistic copy we’ve written for some time – we’ve come through the challenges of 2020 strongly and with renewed purpose and ambition. We have exciting plans for a bigger, better NEF+ programme, continued the fast paced delivery of the current NEF programme, successfully completed and reported our refugee entrepreneurship pilot programme and grown and enhanced the CFE team with some exciting new hires. NEF alumni have been equally busy, with some incredible achievements over recent months, despite the continued economic uncertainty.

The generosity of our donors and supporters has been instrumental in getting us to the point where we can plan ambitiously and deliver a vision for scaling. As ever I thank you for your continued support.


Warmest wishes,


NEF+ is open

Refugee entrepreneurship pilot findings & summit dates 

NEF Class of 2021 updates

NEF+ Alumni Updates

Research & Network updates

CFE team news


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NEF+ is open 


Applications for NEF+ opened earlier this month; this will be our 11th cohort since 2011. We’re delighted to be delivering NEF+ in partnership with Founders Forum, in a bid to promote and scale impact and inclusivity. FF bring their broad-ranging portfolio of capabilities to support raising NEF+’s profile, candidate and company recruitment and creating valuable ecosystem connections. NEF+ Alumni – and the incoming cohort – will gain access to key FF networks and competitions like the Founders of the Future network and Elevating Founders Festival.

NEF+ in partnership with Founders Forum 2021

Whilst continuing to support aspiring founders, we are diversifying this new cohort to include high-potential talent from scale-ups and partner companies. Results from our previous cohorts have shown that our learning programme’s condensed nature has the potential to provide rapid development in key talent. We are tapping into the expertise of our long-time recruitment partners, Instant Impact, to support us on this pivotal recruitment campaign. We aim to accelerate NEF+’s impact in supporting diversity by offering 30% of places on the next, and future cohorts, to founders from under-represented backgrounds and communities.

We will be taking applications till 15 June 2021, before the programme starts in July 2021. If you or someone you know would like to apply for the startup founder path, David Kirkham ( will be happy to take any questions, including our scholarships for under-represented founders. Alternatively, if you are a scale-up or organisation looking to sponsor your key talent for our programme, please feel free to reach out to Lance Tredell (, our Business Development Lead.

Find out more about NEF+ here


In February this year, we announced our newly-formed partnership with Founders Forum. This will fuel our plans to scale the NEF+ programme; increasing cohort sizes and frequency per year in a bid to improve entrepreneurship skills across the UK.

We are delighted to have the Founders Forum on board with our mission through this exciting partnership.


Instant Impact & Centre for Entrepreneurs webinar


Instant Impact X Centre for Entrepreneurs webinar 2021

Instant Impact and Centre for Entrepreneurs have joined forces to host a webinar 11am on Thursday 27th May, discussing how the pandemic, remote working and general business evolution is shaping the skills we need in our organisations.

As our world and workforce continue to rapidly evolve along with the adoption of technology and the increase of automation, 40% of employees will need reskilling by 2025. This has then been accelerated by the pandemic, which has also shown the importance of resilience and adaptability.

The businesses that don’t shift their focus from the skills that they have always relied on will miss out on high quality talent with great potential.  In this interactive session, our expert panel of speakers will be sharing their perspective on what skills they think should be prioritised so that HR can transform their talent to create a workforce for the future.

To join and find out more about the Instant Impact & The Centre for Entrepreneurs webinar, click here

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Refugee entrepreneurship pilot findings & summit  


UK refugee entrepreneurship pilot scheme 2021

Last month, we published the independent evaluation of our refugee entrepreneurship pilot – a programme funded by the Home Office and The National Lottery Community Fund with the aim of proving the efficacy of tailored business support for refugees. 

The year-long scheme funded four organisations across the UK to deliver tailored support programmes. Collectively, they engaged over 300 refugees, with 112 receiving targeted business support. Three of the four delivery bodies went on to unlock more than £1.7m in additional funding to help a further 585 refugees over the next two years.

The academic evaluation, conducted by Loughborough University, found strong demand for tailored business support and shows the important role programmes play in equipping refugees with the skills, experience, connections, and finance required to start a business.  

The report calls for nationwide roll-out of refugee entrepreneurship programmes; coordinated support from banks to address finance barriers; and more businesses to provide paid work experience and support to aspiring refugee entrepreneurs.

CFE will be continuing to campaign on this topic through our Refugee Entrepreneurship Network (REN). The network’s 4th annual global summit will take place online between 18-21 October 2021

A link to the report can be found here.


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NEF Class of 2021 updates 


Our latest NEF cohort  has continued from strength to strength, NEFers have been completing monthly cycles on different learning topics – since the start of the year, the learning programme cycles have focused on :

– Product Management | Andy Ayim

– Marketing & Funnels | Imelda Fossu

– Sales & Negotiation | Charlotte Pearce (2015)

For the last two weeks the cohort have been working on their Community & Culture challenge – they’ve been creating and designing their own NEF community – keep an eye out for innovative new NEF community ideas that come out of the challenge.

The programme then moves into its final phase, covering Finance, Pitching and Presenting and culminating with Acceleration in early July.

Highlights from the most recent Sales & Negotiation learning cycle include:

  • Cameron Kavanagh, Founder of Savvy Social – closed a 2-month contract for his new content creation business for VCs.
  • Claudio Owusu, Founder of Gusto Snacks – closed a new monthly average order of 600 units for his sustainable snack business.
  • Jessica Barlow, Founder of Sunday Care Therapy – sharing her learnings and challenges trying to sell into local authorities and the care sector. If you know someone who pays for care in the Hackney area, you can help Jessica out.

If you’d like to get in touch with any of the 2021 NEFers, you can contact them here

You can view the NEF+ Class of 2021’s profile’s here.

Class of 2021


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NEF+ alumni updates


It’s been an exciting few months with some impressive stories from across the NEF alumni, including: an exciting NHS partnership, investment in mobile barbering, supporting Kickstart and a coveted place on Founders of the Future for another NEFer-funded venture. NEFers have also been in the news – including a Times front page, Draper’s 30 under 30 and a place in a key Financial Times hot list. 

Find out more below

Career Ear Kickstart Scheme – MYNDUP X NHS 2021


Joel Gujral of MYNDUP (Class of 2020) has partnered with the NHS in launching MYNDUP x NHS. This is an extension of their previous volunteering programme in partnership with CVC Capital Partnerships, which continues to fund the roll out of this NHS programme nationally. The programme will be providing thousands of free mental health sessions to NHS staff over the next few months.

Darren Tenkorang of TRIM-IT (Class of 2017) announced the completion of a $1.1 million investment round last month, with plans to scale his mobile barbershop startup across Europe and the U.S. Darren’s story was also recently featured in Forbes.

Claudine Adeyemi’s Career Ear (Class of 2020) launched a gateway for employers to access the government’s Kickstart Scheme. Since December, this has given employers the funding for job placements – ultimately creating jobs for 16 to 24 year-olds. Career Ear is a technology-enabled platform that finds scalable solutions to address skills gaps and underemployment.

Edward East’s Billion Dollar Boy (Class of 2012) was listed as the first and only influencer marketing agency in the annual Financial Times’ 1000: Europe’s Fastest-Growing Companies 2021. Growing with over 80 employees today, Billion Dollar Boy is a creative agency for the influencer age.

James Hartford-Tyrer (Class of 2015) was featured in Draper’s 30 under 30 list. His company, Cudoni, was also shortlisted in the Drapers Sustainability Awards 2021. Cudoni is a pre-owned luxury goods selling service that had raised £4.6 million in a funding round last October.

Georgie Nightingall of Trigger Conversations (2019) was recently featured in the Times, The Telegraph, The Week and Daily Mail for delivering lessons in ‘Building connections, the art of business small talk’ to university students. Trigger Conversations helps individuals and organisations create stimulating and adventurous conversations.


We’d like to thank our NEF+ Alumni for their kind donations to the Centre for Entrepreneurs and the NEF+ programme. Their generosity and pay-it-forward spirit will be pivotal in bringing tangible impact and support to the future entrepreneurs of our NEF+ programme.

Thank you Corbyn Munnick, Joel Gujral, Alex Somervell, Fiona Timba, Guy Riese, JJ Tan and Quin Murray.


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Research & Networks Updates 


The Incubator and Accelerator Network has welcomed new members including the University of Essex and City University in the last month, and our Refugee Entrepreneurship Network has launched global working groups to drive collaboration between members.

CFE Incubator & Accelerator Event


The Incubator and Accelerator Network continues to host monthly events for members, with recent topics including how to run entrepreneur-in-residence schemes, how to drive digital engagement among entrepreneurs, and briefings from members on how they are conducting detailed monitoring and evaluation of their incubation programmes. Our fourth annual conference will run virtually in June. 

CFE has also launched a new jobs database for IAN members that will track all UK incubation related jobs, starting with all relevant jobs published in the last four months. This will provide a growing repository of job descriptions and benchmarking of salaries for various roles. 

To learn more about the Incubator and Accelerator Network and to join click here

In our Refugee Entrepreneurship Network, we have launched several member-led working groups to drive collaboration internationally. These include:

The network’s fourth annual global summit will take place virtually between 18-21 October 2021.

To learn more about the Refugee Entrepreneurship Network and to apply to click here.


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CFE team news 


Izzy Daly-Carnell joined as our new operations lead in February, replacing Ffion Fabian who’s moving to Brazil. Izzy’s background is PR and recruitment and, after an extensive handover from Ffion, has quickly settled into life at CFE bringing her enthusiasm and energy to the team and everything she does.

Tessa Lin Wang is CFE’s new social media and communications lead, focusing on promoting NEF+. Tessa has a background in fashion journalism, has worked in a venture builder and runs her own early-stage startup.


Lance Tredell is our newest hire – leading business development for NEF+. We missed out on Lance for the NEF Class of 2019 when he joined PwC, so we were delighted when he accepted our offer the second time around. Prior to PwC, Lance was a successful elite rower – for Team GB and Cambridge  University.


After helping Izzy get up to speed, we said goodbye to Ffion Fabian in late-February. Ffion leaves CFE with our best wishes to begin a new adventure (after a well-earned break) in Brazil. Ffion Fabian joined in August 2019 and played a key role in helping to navigate through the challenges of 2020. Adeus et boa sorte Ffion!

Laura Campbell left CFE in March, to start a new chapter of adventures after a hugely challenging 2020. We’re all missing Laura’s infectious energy and enthusiasm.

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We hope to see you soon!

I hope that you’ve found our update informative. We are feeling confident and optimistic, and are looking forward to re-starting our events schedule and being able to meet our amazing community again – through pitch days, alumni re-union events and – rules-permitting – a summer party.


Best wishes,




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.


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