GrandNanny, the UK’s first intergenerational childcare service that matches working families with midlife+ neighbours to provide rewarding jobs and reliable childcare, has been announced as the winner of GradVenture 2021. GradVenture is the pitching competition which aims to support University of London graduates becoming budding entrepreneurs, as well as introduce finalists to networking opportunities beyond their college communities.
Seven Hills’ co-founder, Michael Hayman established GradVenture with the University of London and The Careers Group five years ago and moderated the afternoon in front of a live, virtual audience.
Six finalists from four different institutions within the University pitched their business ideas to a panel of four judges, with GrandNanny – co-founded by Adele Aitchison, a MSc Gerontology graduate from King’s – taking home the first prize, a stake of the £5,000 investment prize.
The judging panel was made up of Brigette Bard, Founder and CEO, BioSure; Sharmadean Reid MBE, Founder and CEO, Beautystack and The Stack World; Anna Brailsford, CEO, Code First: Girls; and Kate Daubney, Director of The Careers Group and the University of London for Careers and Employability.
The runner-up – and winner of £1000 – was Sojo, an app modernising the clothing repair and tailoring industry to tackle fast fashion through connecting customers to local seamster businesses. It was founded by Josephine Phillips, a BSc Physics and Philosophy graduate from King’s.
University of London Vice-Chancellor, Professor Wendy Thomson CBE said of the event: “This year’s GradVenture has demonstrated the diverse and innovative ideas of our university of London students. The themes for this year were Building Community and Supporting Wellbeing, and every one of the finalists have impressed with their brilliant business pitches. Congratulations to our winners and thank you to all our students who entered this year’s competition. This is a special event I look forward to attending every year.”
Dr Kate Daubney, who offered advice to the finalists during the competition, said: “I’m delighted with how our second virtual GradVenture final has gone, and for our continued collaboration with Michael and the Seven Hills team.
“It was fantastic to see each entrepreneur reflecting a strong focus on the social benefit of their business proposals this year. These ideas were all transformational in their own way and a true indication that young entrepreneurs of today are more awake than ever to the notion of business being a force for good.”
A full list of finalists is below:
Align, City – a digital platform which offers each aspiring barrister a tailored road-map to becoming a barrister. It is a diagnostic tool designed to capture a user’s preparedness through a Foundational Assessment and then build a uniquely structured Achievement Ladder with bespoke tasks and advice. Persons with limited connection at the bar who find it challenging to build strong legal portfolios will gain a practical understanding of what’s needed to become a barrister | https://www.linkedin.com/company/linkedin-align/
Baby Blues App, QMUL – an innovative digital solution connecting women and making mental health care accessible to every mother in the UK | www.babyblues.app | Instagram & Twitter: @babybluesapp
The Black Queer Travel Guide, Goldsmiths – an intelligent and affordable native app and digital platform that facilitates the safety of its Black queer users and allies. It aims to grow into a community that supports local Black queer business, an ambassador network, and bioregionalism by encouraging sustainable travel through an offer of specific advice, information, and local travel experiences on destinations around the globe | https://www.theblackqueertravelguide.com/ | Instagram: @blackqueertravelguide | Twitter: @BlackQueerTG
Carers Creative, Goldsmiths – a non-profit ‘community interest company’ with a mission of improving the wellbeing of unpaid Carers through creative action. This includes tailored courses, tutorials and sharing Carers stories | Instagram: @carerscreative
GrandNanny, King’s – Intergenerational child care that connects communities. We match working families with midlife+ neighbours to provide reliable after school childcare and rewarding part-time jobs | www.grandnanny.co.uk| Instagram: @grandnanny_uk
SoJo, King’s – bringing circularity to the fashion industry by modernising the centuries old clothing repair and tailoring industry. They connect customers to local seamster businesses through their app and bicycle delivery service so that people can get their clothes fixed or fitted with a few simple clicks. Think Deliveroo but for clothing alterations and repairs | Website: https://www.sojoapp.co.uk | Instagram & Twitter: @sojo_app