Today Samanta was one of 8 finalists that pitched to the SJL Foundation judges at the House of Commons in London. The event was hosted by comedian Matt Green. Samanta made her pitch to to a judging panel of 4 entrepreneurs including Rachel Elnaugh the Dragon from BBC Dragons’ Den and the founder of the SJL Foundation, Simon Lancaster.
Samanta’s pitch impressed the judges and she was awarded a business start up grant of £2000 and one year’s free mentorship with the SJL Foundation’s network of industry contacts to support her inclusive fashion line carrying her own name and collaborating with a range of designers.
Samanta said ‘I’d like to thank Simon Lancaster and the SJL Foundation for the opportunity to pitch at the House of Commons today. I am so excited to have been awarded the grant and the mentoring support. This will allow me to further develop the SB inclusive fashion shop and continue to influence the fashion industry to become more inclusive and sustainable.’
The 4 judges on the panel were:
- Simon Lancaster, CEO and founder of global insurance broker SJL Insurance which is one of the UK’s largest owner-owned insurance brokers, founder and trustee of the SJL Foundation
- Rachel Elnaugh, Dragon in BBC Dragons Den series 1 and 2, founder of Red Letter Days, co-founder of Source.TV, author, speaker, and business mentor
- Kerry Hopkins, CEO of Baron & Hopkins and Broadcast Ready, chief comms officer with experience PR’ing the world’s largest corporations and start-ups and former national ITV and BBC TV journalist
- John Auckland, CEO of Tribe First, crowdfunding expert who’s raised over £30m, and Virgin start-up crowdfunding trainer
Simon Lancaster, Founder and Trustee, SJL Foundation said: “I started SJL Insurance 18 years ago with two grants with the combined value of £500. I’d like to help others set up their own business, so I am launching the SJL Pay It Forwards movement, so that the story comes full circle.
“Each finalist had to agree before we accepted them as a finalist, to Pay It Forwards so that they also help another start-up entrepreneur too. Before they help them, they must first get that start-up entrepreneurs agreement that they too agree to Pay It Forwards, and before that entrepreneur mentors their future mentee they must get their mentee to also agree to Pay It Forwards beforehand. From thereon in that is the pattern to be repeated in the future – and so the SJL Pay It Forwards movement grows and grows for the good of communities across the nation.”