“Air footbed” shoe business scoops £150,000 Worth Foundation Fund prize

Air & Grace winner of national retail start-up competition with Tart London and Yucoco runners-up

Footwear start-up Air & Grace has been chosen as the overall winner of the Worth Foundation Fund competition, securing £150,000 investment and mentoring to take its product to market.

Announced at London’s VIP Hospital Club following a “fevered pitching finale”, Air & Grace was granted first prize for its ‘tender loving air footbed’ invention which uses memory foam cushioning within ballet pump style shoes (pictured above) to offer the wearer both “comfort and glamour”.

Judged by a panel of leading entrepreneurs including Mind Candy’s Michael Acton Smith, Seedrs’ Jeff Lynn, Roger Wade of Boxpark pop-up mall, and Worth Retail founders Alex Johns and Paul Soanes, the UK-wide competition intended to find the three retail start-ups that look to be the “next big thing” in the retail landscape.

Gourmet savoury tart business Tart London and personalised chocolate specialist Yucoco were awarded as runner-ups and will each receive £75,000 investment, along with business support and advice.

The Fund had ran a campaign on crowdfunding platform Seedrs at the start of the competition offering investors the chance to back the winners and over-funded its original £200,000 target, attracting investment from 11 countries.

Air & Grace founder, Clare Burrows, will use the finance to take her designs to market next month and on winning, told the judges, “thank you for believing me”.

Worth Retail’s Alex Johns commented: “We were just blown away by Claire’s gorgeous shoes, her business acumen and unique sense of style”.

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