Branson book competition: Winners announced

We reveal the winners of our Branson book competition, and find out how they screw business as usual

Last month, we asked you: How will your start-up ‘screw business as usual’? What are your tips for doing business differently and for the greater good? It was all to celebrate the launch of Sir Richard Branson’s latest book, Screw Business as Usual, and today we can reveal the five winners.

Each will receive a copy of Screw Business As Usual, personally signed by Sir Richard himself! Find out what kind of businesses they’re starting-up and what they’re doing to screw business as usual:

Surish Singh is in the process of launching a high-end tea and coffee business called The Perfect Cha Company. Surish recently left an economics degree to focus on the business and is about to launch the Perfect Cha Company website:

“My business seeks to tackle unemployment and poverty with an entrepreneurial approach. Not only is the restaurant a perfect venue, but guests can rest assured that 30% of profits will be spent on equipping local people with the skills and experience to work in the hospitality sector.”

Sisters Sadaf and Rakhshan Zahid are in the process of starting a jewellery business. Named ‘Feroza’, meaning ‘turquoise’, the business, which uses semi-precious stones, has already exhibited its wares in the US, UK and Pakistan:

“I’m starting a jewellery business that procures unique pieces of jewellery from art students in Pakistan. We will give them training and access to new markets. We currently sell jewellery designed by us; we hire artisans to make the jewellery and pay above market rates for their craftsmanship. We are at present developing a model where design students work with us to take over the design aspects.”

James Aston founded his custom sportswear business Half Baked Brand (HBB) in Devon in March 2010. Until two weeks ago, the 29-year-old entrepreneur was maintaining a full-time job in engineering alongside his start-up. However, having recently brought two new investors on board, he is now focused on growing HBB and sister brand veloist.cc into an international business:

“Only operating on a small, local scale at present, we find it important to make projects as affordable as possible for the individuals and groups that come to us. Integrating with the local community through respect and thoughtfulness helps everyone involved. Business and public alike.”

Chrissy Kelly recently started a socially-conscious training business in the south east of England. It has just started trading:

“My business works with not-for-profit organisations, supporting single parents back into work. We provide personalised, individual, needs-driven coaching and support.”

Jacqueline Dallas has just started her business, Designer Crystals. Specialising in customising fashion goods and accessories with Swarovski crystals and rhinestones, the start-up has just secured growth capital from GLE Group. A single mum with a degree in business and management, she is a long-term fan of Richard Branson and is now living her own business dream:

“The t-shirts I buy [for my designs] are EarthPositive® organic, ethically made and – crucially – manufactured solely using sustainable energy, generated from wind and solar power. I also like to work with Fairtrade companies, so I know the products I buy are produced using the best methods. That will help to sustain our planet and ensure the people who produce the goods are treated in a fair manner. That’s good for all involved.”

Congratulations to all five of our winners. There were so many great ideas that came in from Britain’s inspiring entrepreneurs, here’s a few of the best of the rest:

… “My best tip for doing business out of the box is to always remain mindful of your comfort zone – and take daily measures to move beyond your perceived limitations!” – Kimberlee Warnes

… “Remain true to your values. Stay transparent and ethical at all times.” – Ruth Price

… “When providing a service, make each of your clients feel that you have time for them. Respond to client emails within 20 minutes.” – Roseline Badero

… “Break the mould and innovate. Stay 6-12 months ahead of the competition.” – Geof Jones

So, how will you screw business as usual?

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