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9 inspiring businesses shortlisted for £25,000 Business Boost

3-minute read

Catriona Smith

8 October 2021

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After thousands of entries and careful consideration, Simply Business is excited to announce the shortlist for this years’ Business Boost competition.

Nine inspiring businesses have been selected to be in with a chance of winning £25,000 to take their business to the next level. Read on to find out more about our finalists and watch their submission videos.

What is Business Boost?

For the second year running, we’ve offered a Business Boost cash prize to support a small business to make their big dream a reality. We understand the impact of Covid-19 has had on small businesses and with this cash injection, we hope to help one entrepreneur start, revive, or grow their business.

Finalists that have innovation, sustainability, and social impact at their heart

After receiving nearly 25,000 entries from businesses up and down the country, we've managed to narrow it down to a final nine. Read on to find out about our finalists who’ll be going in front of our expert judging panel – which includes Piers Linney and The Apprentice winner – and one winner will be awarded the Business Boost grant.

Valiant Lingerie

Valiant Lingerie has a mission to support women in healing their confidence and body image after treatment by providing fashionable, contemporary post-surgery lingerie.

Eleanor from Norfolk designed, produced, and launched her first lingerie collection during lockdown in 2020. Looking ahead, she hopes to be able to develop more products and is planning an empowering photoshoot with some of her customers; women who've had a diagnosis of breast cancer or had preventative surgery.


Ross is a qualified nurse and physician associate with experience working in healthcare for the elderly. Based in London, he saw first-hand the challenges the ageing population face, including a loss of confidence in spending time outside since the pandemic.

PendantPal is an alarm that vulnerable adults wear around their neck so they can contact a 24/7 care line if they feel unwell or have a fall. Unlike traditional pendant alarms, it works both inside and outside as it's a mobile device with a built-in SIM card – which means it can work anywhere.

Watch This Sp_ce

Watch This Sp_ce is a Brighton-based business on a mission to reimagine the world of work to include everyone. They offer consultancy, training, mentoring, coaching, and content creation to support diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

As well as working with existing organisations, they want to see more diverse founders start and build businesses. Mo Kanjilal and co-founders Allegra Chapman and Rachel Pearson have also developed an inclusion audit framework to engage wider audiences, and hope to develop their content into an app.

The English Vine

Neil from Essex is the founder of The English Vine, an English wine producer and shop that wants to make wine packaging more sustainable.

Citing issues that the UK fails to recycle a high percentage of glass, and almost half of the carbon footprint of wine comes from the bottle and packaging, The English Vine set about producing wine in a paper bottle. Earlier this year, they produced a limited run of 500 paper bottles in their own wine ‘Number 1’, and are on a mission to produce all wine in paper bottles within the next five years.

Wild Rye Sourdough

Wild Rye Sourdough is a microbakery based in Trowbridge that aims to bring real bread into people's homes, using no plastic waste and no preservatives.

Jess launched the bakery in 2020 after realising the corporate career ladder wasn’t for her. What started as just a small operation at home has now expanded to a dedicated baking space in a converted garage, and she’s invested in her own van to deliver bread to people throughout her community.

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The Refill Shop of Ikigai

The Refill Shop of Ikigai helps people reduce their plastic consumption by letting them bring their own containers to stock up on food items and household products. With a strong environmental ethos, they use closed-loop suppliers where they can, and stock a range of local products, from soaps and deodorants to muesli and vegan honey.

Martin from St Ives, Cambridgeshire, was able to use redundancy money to open the shop earlier this year, following his dream to do his bit to help the planet.

Firefly Pottery

Victoria started her small independent pottery business, Firefly Pottery, nearly seven years ago. Based in Horsforth, Leeds, Firefly offers creative painting, clay making, and pottery wheel throwing workshops in the community.

As well as working with families, children’s clubs, and businesses, they’ve also worked with the disability charity, Scope, to make the classes accessible and inclusive for all.

The Udder Stuff

The Udder Stuff is a milk and milkshake vending machine in a town near Emily’s family farm in Devon. She aims to help reconnect consumers with where their food comes from by providing them with a glass bottle full of farm fresh, gently pasteurised milk.

Emily’s ambition is to install more milk vending machines in towns and shops, helping to educate and engage people on the importance of buying British produce.

Ruby & Bo

Founded in 2019 by Victoria and Rob, Ruby & Bo designs and creates plantable cards and eco-friendly stationery from a studio in the Sussex countryside.

Ruby & Bo source high-quality seeds and work with local artisan papermakers to produce their plantable paper and sell in their online shop. All their packaging and materials are plastic free, and they donate a percentage of their profits to global eco-initiatives.

Video stories from our shortlist

We asked our finalists to record a video about their business and tell us why they think they should win. Head over to our YouTube channel to watch all the competition video entries from our 2021 shortlist.

Good luck to all our finalists. The winner will be announced on 22 October.

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We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer

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