Small Business Grants: December winner announced!

Our December winner has been revealed, but companies that have been set up and are actively trading can apply today, free of charge, for January's £5,000 competition.

December winner

The Naked Interior is the winner of the December 2018 Small Business Grants competition.

Sam and Hannah Richards are a husband and wife team based in Wiltshire. Sam is a fine furniture and cabinet maker and Hannah is an interior designer with a background in architecture.

They created The Naked Interior to sell beautiful pieces that are environmentally sustainable. Much of what’s on the market contains toxic substances, finishes and fabrics. They want to make shoppers aware of these substances and their harmful impact on the environment and one human health.

Their aim to become a zero-waste business – at the moment they only use recyclable and/or compostable packaging.

Spending the grant

The couple hope to source a wider range of items for their website, giving customers more choice and more incentive to buy non-toxic items for their home.

They also want to move closer to their goal of securing a commercial storefront to create an in-person experience for customers to see the products. ‘They could feel for themselves how much softer organic cotton is, see the richness and variety of unbleached textiles, and feel the luxury of furnishings that have not been touched by chemicals,’ says Hannah.

Click here to see stories of previous winners.

October winner

The winner of the October 2018 British Small Business Grants competition was Reach and Rescue Ltd.

Based in Wigan, the firm is best-known for its Reach and Rescue pole. The pole is designed to keep users safe while rescuing casualties and can stretch up to 17 metres.

They’re used by over 80 per cent of the UK fire and rescue and emergency services and sold in 46 countries worldwide.

It’s not just for humans either: Reach and Rescue have supplied the RSPCA with a bespoke animal rescue to kit for each of their 550 volunteers.

Spending the grant

In June they launched the world’s first public access water rescue system: The Portsafe. The system consists of a Reach and Rescue pole which enables the public to perform a rescue while waiting for emergency services to arrive.

With the grant, the firm wants to market the Portsafe and ensure that one is situated by every lake, waterway and public water area both in the UK and globally. It also hopes to hire an apprentice to help with the launch as well as investing in a full marketing plan including events, exhibitions and digital marketing.

Jo Taylor is the director of Reach and Rescue. She says, ‘We want to get the legislation changed in the UK to ensure that such a public access, secure and easy-to-use rescue system is available throughout the UK. The grant will enable us to contact each and every Member of Parliament about the benefits of The Portsafe and eventually be able to save more lives.’

Rennie Schafer, British Small Business Grants judge and CEO of Self Storage Association UK, said, ‘This is a fabulous innovation to address a real need in the market. Uptake of their original product within their target market was incredible and I hope that this grant will help ensure similar success with the Portsafe product.’

September winner

The winner of the Small Business Grants competition for September 2018 is wildlife products company Green&Blue.

The business was founded in 2004 by husband and wife team Gavin and Kate Christman, who met while working at Dyson. Driven by a passion for nature and disillusioned with the offshoring of production happening at Dyson, the pair launched their first product, the Birdball birdhouse, which went on to win design awards from Wayne Hemingway.

After launching the Bee Brick, a nesting site for solitary bees designed to be used in construction in place of a standard brick or block, the team has grown from two to seven staff, with a reported turnover growth of 160 per cent.

The £5,000 grant will enable the company to launch a new product designed for swifts.

Click here to read more

August winner

The winner of the Small Business Grants competition for August 2018 isPurely Disposables, a Gwent-based eco-friendly packaging business.

The company is focused on replacing single use plastic by supplying products that are 100 per cent compostable and made from plant waste generated by the food industry.

Managing director Charles Richardson says the company has grown so fast that it has outgrown its ability to invest in the business. ‘We have a number of new products coming into the market that we are unable to fund, as future income will be needed for the research program we are working on with Cardiff University,’ he explains.

Click here to read more

July winner

The winner of the Small Business Grants competition for July is revealed as Ocean Spark Studios, a Yorkshire-based video game development studio creating its own in-house titles.

Starting out in December 2016, the company began its journey working on its biggest title, Tetra – Elemental Awakening, a fantasy role-playing game (RPG) based on the periodic table.

Company founder Zachray Cundall says the £5,000 will be spent on equipment to run its 3D software. ‘These laptops will not only help to assist with running workshops and teaching students inhouse, but it will also provide jobs for QA testing when it comes to testing our own titles,’ he says.

Click here to read more

June winner

The winner of June 2018’s Small Business Grants competition is revealed as Parcours Velo, set up in 2016 to provide high-performance wheels for cyclists.

Founder Dov Tate identified a gap in the market between high-end, high-priced wheels, and lower-priced wheels. ‘Our entire product range has been wind-tunnel tested and shown to deliver equal performance benefits to competitors at 2-3x the price,’ he adds.

Since launch, the company has had a number of positive reviews from the cycling and triathlon media, including a prestigious ‘Best Buy’ award from 220 Triathlon magazine.

The £5,000 will be spend on tooling and wind tunnel studies in North Carolina in the US.

Click here to read more

May winner

The winner of May 2018’s £5,000 Small Business Grants competition, as adjudicated by our panel of independent judges, is Consequential Robotics (CQR) specialising in robotic networked devices that seek to empower people to maintain independence as they age.

Conran says, ‘Support from could make a very substantial difference to our potential to succeed in our ambition of becoming a world leader in personal robotics, with a goal of reaching annual sales in excess of £20 million by 2022.’

Click here to read more

April winner

The winner of April 2018’s £5,000 Small Business Grants competition, as adjudicated by our panel of independent judges, is Olly’s Olives, which aims to shake up the olive market with its unpasteurised snack pouches.

Founder Olly Hiscocks studied neuroscience at the University of Manchester and landed a place to study post-graduate medicine, but always wanted to start his own business. ‘This money will be an absolute game changer for the business and would actually allow me to finally employ a full time salesman to help me manage the sales process in the business,’ Olly says.

Click here to read more

March winner

Well&Truly was born when sisters-in-law Maria and Sarah Trechman saw an opportunity for an innovative and exciting brand with great tasting, healthy snacks, whether lower fat, fewer calories or lower sugar.

In the space of a year and a half, the company has supplied Tesco in over 1,000 stores nationwide, brought five products to market and has twice been voted a top 100 UK start-up.

The business, which currently consists of its two co-founders, one permanent employee and one intern, also counts Wholefoods Market, Ocado, Booths and WH Smith as stockists.

The grant will allow the company to take on one more member of staff part-time for three months to set the operation up for international expansion and push export sales.

‘With Brexit looming we need to diversify our customer base as much as possible and winning new retail and wholesale customers abroad is a big part of future proofing our business,’ Maria says.

Click here to read more

February winner

The winner of February’s £5,000 Small Business Grants competition is Cypher, an educational company that teaches children between the age of 4 and 14 how to code during the school holidays.

Cypher’s camps run for a full week and incorporate real world themes such as fashion, architecture, digital art, music and nature, into its camp days to show children how technology can be used creatively in any way they can imagine. CEO Elizabeth Tweedale says the company strives to provide a fun, energetic, enriched and comprehensive education for all of its young students.

Our judges commended Cypher on addressing key market requirements. Rennie Schafer, CEO of the Self Storage Association says, ‘[This is a] business aiming to educate todays children on the technology they will take for granted tomorrow.

‘I think the idea of adding drones into their educational programme is inspired and will not only provide interest and entertainment for the children but will educate them on a tool that will have mainstream use by the time they join the workforce.’

Click here to read more

December 2017/January 2018 winner

The winner of the December/January Small Business Grants competition is online textbook subscription service Perlego, collecting £5,000 to invest in new services key to the company’s growth.

Billed as the ‘Spotify for textbooks’, Perlego claims to be the first and only SaaS platform offering unlimited access to academic e-books on a subscription basis.

With the £5,000 prize, founder Gauthier Van Malderen plans to improve the scalability and usability of the current platform.

Click here to read more

November 2017 winner

The winner of November’s £5,000 Small Business Grants competition is revealed as Synap, an educational learning platform for students, professionals and hobbyists.

Using memory science and artificial intelligence, Synap lets people engage with short, multiple-choice quizzes, and uses the data generated to create a personalised learning plan for each user, based on their own strengths and weaknesses.

Gupta says the plan is to spend £2,000 of the grant money on marketing materials (design/events/stand equipment, brochures, flyers), £2,000 on digital marketing (PPC/social ads), and allocate £1,000 for miscellaneous expenses.

‘The £5,000 comes at a perfect time when we were looking for a way to scale up our sales/marketing pipeline and start bringing in new clients across a range of industries,’ he adds.

Click here to read more

October 2017 winner

On December 17th 2010, University of Sheffield students Alex Baker and Chris Rose used a helium balloon to film the Earth from the edge of space on a shoestring budget.

The project would inspire Sent into Space, a company offering marketing, research and education with a focus on near space. The company has also launched a service that scatters the ashes of the deceased from space.

The £5,000 grant will be instrumental for investment in key equipment to streamline processes.

Click here to read more

September 2017 winner

The winner of our first Small Business Grants competition is revealed as Techsixtyfour, collecting £5,000 to invest in the development of the business.

The company’s flagship product, The Gator Watch, is a wearable mobile phone and tracker for children which can be used almost anywhere in the world.

After getting her product stocked in John Lewis, founder Colleen Wong saw sales take off and is now preparing to launch the Gator Watch into Europe.

‘I’m so happy to have won the Small Business Grant,’ Wong says. ‘We are currently expanding to Germany, France, Italy and Spain, and this money will really help out with marketing for these efforts.’

Click here to read more

Our Small Business Grants scheme is sponsored by Worldpay, Salesforce, Opus Energy and Yell Business and Frontierpay. These partners are specialists in the small business sector and are focused on offering products and services tailored for SMEs.

We would also like to thank our partners,,  No Brainer, the Forum of Private Business, London Chamber of Commerce, Angel Academe, Luxaviation UK, Caxton, Progressive Property, The Self Storage Association and The Brew.

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Anna Jordan

Anna is Senior Reporter, covering topics affecting SMEs such as grant funding, managing employees and the day-to-day running of a business.

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