SJL Foundation launches nationwide competition to give 8 finalists in Great Britain the chance to get a free £2,000 business grant and mentoring, and to pitch their business idea in the House of Commons

SJL Foundation

Closing date for entries is Monday 30 September 2019

The SJL Foundation competition final will be on Tuesday 22 October 2019 in the House of Commons


The SJL Foundation (charity) has launched a new initiative to substantially help 8 finalists set up their own business. People from all walks of life in Great Britain can enter to get a chance of winning a free start up business grant of £2,000, one hour with successful insurance entrepreneur Simon Lancaster, get mentored, plus receive legal and HR documentation support. People with a business start up idea or with a start up business up to one year old may enter.

Eight finalists will present their five-minute pitch to a panel of four and an audience of 100 guests in the prestigious House of Commons as to why they should win a grant. All eight finalists are in with a chance of winning a £2,000 grant each if their pitch at the House of Commons is good enough, or the judges may decide on less winners. The SJL Foundation aims to give 45% of all proceeds to the business start-up fund, of which it hopes to put at least £45,000 towards that in year one.

To enter the competition, entrants need to email [email protected] to ask for an application form. The form will be emailed to entrants and applicants will have to answer 8 questions on the form. Each competition entrant must also submit a three minute video of themselves saying what their business activity does, and how they’d spend the £2,000 grant and how they’d benefit from mentorship. The closing date for entries is the 30th of September 2019. All applicants must be available to travel to London on the 21st of October 2019 and stay overnight, if travel the night before is required due to an early start the next morning, ready to be at the event in the House of Commons on Tuesday 22 October between 0830am-1030am, if they are chosen as a successful finalist. Applicants must be 18 years old and over.

There will be four judges on the panel consisting of Simon Lancaster, Trustee of the SJL Foundation and founder and CEO of SJL Insurance – the UK’s largest owner-owned insurance brokers registered with Lloyds of London, Kerry Hopkins, managing director of public relations agency Baron & Hopkins who has PR’d some of the biggest names and companies in the world, and the other two judges will be announced in due course.

MP Robin Walker, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State serving jointly between the Scotland Office and the Northern Ireland Office in the UK Government is hosting the breakfast reception at the House of Commons on behalf of the SJL Foundation.

Simon Lancaster, Trustee, SJL Foundation said: ‘’I am incredibly excited about what the SJL Foundation’s business start-up arm can achieve for budding entrepreneurs. As I established SJL Insurance 18 years ago with a Worcestershire council grant of £250 plus a grant from the Hereford & Worcester Chambers of Commerce for £250. The £500 helped me buy a desk and computer. So I wanted the story to go full circle and help others do the same.”

The £2,000 grant package will be donated to each winner by the latest date of 31 December 2019.

100% of donations go to charity. The SJL Foundation aims to raise £100,000 in its first year of which the remaining 45% of that is going to Acorns Children’s Hospices, and 10% will go to a charity match fund pot for staff.

About the SJL Foundation

The SJL Foundation is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) which was approved by the Charity Commission in June 2019 and has registered charity number 1183875.

For more information on our other fundraising activities throughout the year and to buy tickets to our charity events, please visit here.


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