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pitching competition dares entrepreneurs to imagine if…

just IMAGINE if…, the new enterprise competition launched by Ella’s Kitchen founder Paul Lindley, in partnership with the University of Reading, held its final on Thursday.

Supported by Seven Hills, the competition saw entrants from around the world submit an idea to tackle one of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

Ten finalists faced off in a head-to-head live pitching final, with Alexander Wankel, founder of Kai Pacha Foods – a socially and environmentally responsible brand of plant-based milks – announced as the winner of a £75,000 bespoke research grant.

Alexander said he was delighted to win the inaugural competition: “The other nine finalists all have fabulous ideas with the potential to make a big difference in the world – that’s why I feel so honoured to have been selected as the winner, and look forward to working with the University of Reading to help make my idea for a climate-smart alternative to dairy into a reality.”

Seven Hills co-founder Michael Hayman chaired the day’s proceedings, which began with a panel on business as a force for good with Kames Capital head of equities Stephen Adams, co-chair of the Inclusive Economy Partnership Sacha Romanovitch, restaurateur Iqbal Wahhab and Rubies in the Rubble founder Jenny Costa.

Michael later introduced Brompton Bicycle managing director Will Butler-Adams for a keynote speech on leading a socially conscious brand, following workshop sessions with Grant Thornton, former Dragon and investor Piers Linney, Unruly co-founder and chair Dr Sarah Wood, and One Young World managing director Ella Robertson.

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Chapter 1 outlines the concept of mission and how the breakthrough brands of today have succeeded by building a mission that inspires belief, generates a following and instils a purpose beyond profit.