Meet The Judges
Rajeeb Dey MBE – Co-Founder of Learnerbly and Startup Britain
- Co-founder of Startup Britain in partnership with Rt Hon David Cameron
- The youngest recipient of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion in 2013
- Currently the CEO of Learnerbly, which enables businesses to engage, develop and retain talent and supports over 50 of Europe’s most progressive businesses to manage their employees’ development needs.
Linda Plant – Entrepreneur and Public Figure
- BBC The Apprentice – Interviewer and “Queen of Mean”
- Started working at a market stall to being the first woman to head a fashion company stock exchange flotation
- Has built a multi-million property portfolio and interior design business
- Founder of the Linda Plant Academy – LindaPlant.com
Bindi Karia – Queen of Startups
- The UK’s proclaimed ‘Queen of Startups”
- Currently on the Advisory Boards of seven global startups
- Currently acting as a Consultant (PwC Consulting), as a Corporate (Microsoft BizSpark /Ventures), as a Startup employee (Trayport), as an Advisor (Startup Europe, TechStars Startup Weekend, Tech London Advocates, European Innovation Council, WEF), as a Connector (GQ UK, the IoD and Evening Standard have all recognised this) and as their Banker (Silicon Valley Bank)
- Bindi Karia – www.bindikaria.com
Kike Oniwinde – Former GB Athlete and CEO of BYP Network
- Kike Oniwinde is a former Great British Javelin Thrower, and the co-founder of BYP Network
- BYP Network is a platform that connects black professionals with each other and corporations
- 2018 Financial Times Top 100 UK BAME Leaders in Tech
- 2019 Europe Forbes 30 under 30
- Kike Oniwinde – www.kikeoniwinde.com
Overall Feedback and Special Mentions
The judges commended the innovation and hard work of all the entries and the entrepreneurs. One judge reportedly said that she was ‘bloody impressed’ with the quality of candidates and their ideas, which is a huge credit to the BAME community living in the UK, who continue to work hard and thrive despite various social and economic challenges.
Whilst some readers might be surprised to see Eric Yuan from Zoom as one of the top BAME entrepreneurs of the year, one cannot forget his struggle at being denied a visa to the USA on nine occasions and his concept of Zoom being rejected by his employer Cisco. Yuan eventually funded the business from scratch and with money from family and friends. Zoom was founded in 2011 and it has taken almost a decade to really take off – and this cannot be seen in insolation.
Other impressive candidates were commended on their ability to help their local community including Indian, black or female – and others have made huge strides in industries where there are few people of BAME origin including Pae Natwilai (Trik), Max St Hill, Taylor Campbell and Yasin Ali (video gaming) and Josh Wilson (Wilson Worldwide Productions).
One judge highlighted how delighted they were to see BAME entrepreneurs helping other people. There are a lot of businesses which exist to make money, but ones that change people’s lives daily are truly noteworthy, with reference to Ousman Touray (affordable housing) and Manjit Sareen (social media for children).
Feedback from Applications and Advice
With hundreds of entries, it can be hard to find ones that stand out. Being concise in the first line of the entry is very important. With many entries we received, you would have to read for 300 or 400 words just to find out what they do and some entries were also not clear on what the business offered.
A good way to start an application is:
My business does …
I am the entrepreneur who founded this in (year) after working here, here and here.
Numbers are important. There are a lot of good concepts out there, but we need to see some kind of growth or achievements. It’s not all about funding, since a lot of our finalists have had zero funding and we think that building something without funding is just as impressive. We were looking for basic numbers including revenue, subscribers, customers, followers – anything tangible.
This is an entrepreneur competition and some entries spoke too much about the business, and nothing about the entrepreneur. And some visa versa. An even balance would work well here.
We hope that these simple tips will come in useful for future applications and competitions. You should always enter because you have nothing to lose. Do not be afraid to ask for feedback from TechRound or from your peers before you apply. Until then, thank you for entering and we look forward to seeing you next year for the BAME entrepreneurs competition of 2021!
For any further questions, please contact us here