The SJL Foundation entrepreneur competition will give 8 finalists the chance to pitch their business idea in the House of Commons, win a free £2,000 start-up business grant and get mentored, in a nationwide competition.

The SJL Foundation (charity) entrepreneur competition has launched a new initiative to give 8 finalists a wonderful business opportunity to pitch their new business start-up idea to a panel of 4 judges in the House of Commons, in front of an audience of 100 people. Businesses can be up to one-year-old startups. People from all walks of life may enter to be in with a chance of winning a free grant of £2,000 and to get mentored by staff at SJL.

Eight finalists will present their five-minute pitch to the panel and audience in the prestigious House of Commons as to why they should win a grant and what they will spend the money on. 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 4 judges on the panel are:

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 Services 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 want the story to do the circle of life and for me to pay it forward to help others do the same and for them to pay it forward too.”

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

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 questions on the form. Each competition entrant must also submit a three-minute video of themselves talking about what their business activity does, what they need the £2,000 grant for and how they’d spend it, and how they think getting mentored would benefit them. 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.

Press enquiries

Please contact Kerry Hopkins, PR director, Baron & Hopkins on +44 (0) 7900 981 751 or email [email protected]

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