Young entrepreneurs and their Big Ideas

Big Idea 2016Lambeth’s young entrepreneurs faced a Dragons’ Den style judging panel in a bid to win funding for their businesses during Capita’s Your Big Idea event.

The event, now in its third year, was held at Brixton East 1871 with 19 budding entrepreneurs from the food, clothing, social enterprise and film industries, among others. Run by Capita, in collaboration with Lambeth council and supported by Hatch-Incubator and The Prince’s Trust, it was open to the borough’s 17-27 year olds.

The day began with a workshop led by life coach Onyi Anyado, covering networking, presentation and elevator pitches. Damien Nowell, from Radley Yeldar continued with an “our brand” exercise exploring target markets and product positioning. Enterprise and development consultant Thomas Strasser-Neuhofer from Hatch Incubator explored sales and marketing techniques. Sofia Whyte, the 2014 “Your Big idea” winner and founder of The London Baby Journey, gave a presentation and answered questions from attendees eager to hear from her about the Does and Don’ts of business.

Two local brothers Ezra and Eric Kiggundu, founders of the Mr Suave male grooming brand, said that they would recommend “Your Big Idea” to other businesses.“I found today very useful,” said Ezra. “We went through the business canvass in a lot of detail and started to understand what value we can provide our customers and how to position our products. The workshops reinforced the importance of thorough research and also finding the right sources of information and advice.”

What I love about it is that it’s really upbeat, totally aspirational


Throughout the day the young entrepreneurs would disappear upstairs to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges for a chance to win up to £500 funding to develop their product or service.

Judge and Lambeth council cabinet member for jobs and growth Jack Hopkins said: “This is my third Big Idea and it gets better every year. What I love about it is that it’s really upbeat, totally aspirational. It’s about seeing young people have great ideas and want to take over the world.  There are some people who are going to make an absolute fortune. I am confident that they are going to come back and give back to train up the next generation.”

Capita corporate social responsibility manager Juliet Jones said: “We are committed to investing in the communities where we work. When a young entrepreneur comes to us and wants a mentor, we are able to find a match with someone with the right skills to help develop their business. It’s at the core of our business to be doing the right thing where we work.”

Decordeva Dixon, the “Your Big Idea” 2013 first-prize winner and founder of Starbuzz Gastronomie, provided catering for this year’s event. “There were times I wanted to give up, but with the support of mentors from Your Big Idea I kept going,” he said. In 2015 his company was runner-up in the Lambeth Country Show food trader awards.

As the day came to a close, entrepreneurs found out how much funding they had secured and Juliet Jones reflected on the success of Your Big Idea: “I think the fact that some of our entrepreneurs have now got successful businesses and we are using them as suppliers for this event, demonstrates the sustainability of Your Big Idea. This, coupled with the fact that some of them go on to win awards, is fantastic,” she said.

Name: Eric and Ezra KiggundhuAge: 26 and 24
Business: Mr Suave
Product/service: Premium male grooming products for the African Caribbean community, including a premium barber cape with see-through plastic window
USP: We are the only British-owned male grooming brand aimed at the African Caribbean community. Our products are of the best quality. The cape is both practical and luxurious, allowing the busy modern man to continue to engage with his mobile, or perhaps read a book whilst having his hair cut Inspiration: Frustration! We couldn’t find any male grooming products that were suited to African Caribbean skin and hair, that were also of a high quality. The cape idea came to me (Ezra) when I was in a barbershop and couldn’t actually respond to an important email without disrupting the flow of my appointment.


Anne Fisson
Name: Anne Fison
Age: 26
Business: Fison Fitness.
Product/Service: A personal training and fitness studio located in Brixton Arches
USP: Fun, friendly, and affordable community based fitness and personal training service that engages all ages and abilities.
Inspiration: As a personal trainer I found that trainers couldn’t afford to rent spaces to carry out their sessions
Vision: I want to keep my business local, vibrant and community based. So I am investing in my local area by doing a Sports Relief event cycling event for local traders. I am also working with Kings College’s cardiac team
China Anderson
Name: Chyna Anderson
Business: Wild Feet
Products/service: Slipper sock company aimed at families
USP: Fun quirky animal-based designs that run across children’s, women’s and men’s sizes so that the whole family can share in the comfort of slippers and enchantment of animals.
Inspiration: Everybody needs socks and likes being comfortable at home, and I just wanted to bring families together!
Vision: I’d like to own a series of independent shops selling wild feet in affordable areas.
Connect @: wild.feet (instagram)


Ahmed Amarouch
Name: Ahmed Amarouch
Age: 27
Business: Sharewater
USP: Its not just a bottle of water. With every bottle you buy from Shareware, you support water projects in villages in need. Our goal is to permanently increase the access to clean and safe water in the developing world.
Inspiration: More than 600 million people do not have access to clean water – it’s a basic right that most of us take for granted and I wanted others to have that too
Vision: I want to connect every consumer to a water project that they can support. The ultimate goal is to ensure that every human on earth has access to safe clean drinking water. I can’t do this on my own, so I want to work with NGOs and governments.
Connect @: