Startups 100 2020: The startups championing a better tomorrow

Many businesses say they want to change the world, but these four startups are truly enriching our lives, and giving a voice to the marginalised

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“We want to change the world.”

It’s a statement repeated so often by ambitious young startups that it’s effectively become meaningless.

And yet, every now and again, the Startups 100 throws up businesses that really are making the world a better place, with bold, game changing ideas for a brighter tomorrow.

We think those businesses deserve to be shouted about.

As always, this year’s index features a wealth of disruptive and innovative ideas, but what we’re talking about here is those businesses that have set out to enrich lives, or champion the marginalised.

More than that, the businesses we’ve identified below are making their ideas work, and getting results.

Covering careers, cancer care, and mental health, these startups are showing that when you help individuals live better lives, everybody benefits – and that, while it’s often dismissed as self-serving and profit-seeking, private enterprise can be a force for good.

Democratising top careers: WhiteHat


BAME individuals and those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds are “woefully underrepresented” in industries such as tech, media, law, and finance.

And with recent events bringing issues of diversity and inequality very much to the fore, WhiteHat’s mission to “create a diverse group of future leaders” seems all the more pressing.

By offering an alternative to university –- one that uses apprenticeships to measure potential beyond academics – WhiteHat’s platform is democratising access to top careers at the likes of Sky, Visa, Unilever, BP, and Bloomberg.

Over 50% of WhiteHat’s apprentices have claimed free school meals in their lives, and 65% are non-white British. Of course, they don’t pay a thing. Instead, WhiteHat makes use of the Apprenticeship Levy, and charges employers a recruitment fee.

They say you can’t be what you can’t see. In WhiteHat, we see a bright future for all.

Read WhiteHat’s full profile here.

Helping the homeless: Beam

Beam Startups 100 2020

Since 2011, homelessness has risen by 60% to reach 320,000 cases today. That’s a lot of blighted lives, and a lot of dormant potential, which could be unlocked if only these individuals could get a foot on the career ladder.

But that’s no mean feat when you can’t even see the bottom rung.

London-based social enterprise Beam is taking a truly unique approach to tackling this crisis. It’s a crowdfunding platform that allows members of the public to fund training courses and professional qualifications for homeless people.

Each individual is given a dedicated case worker and a bespoke employment plan to help them find stable, paid work, which gives them a foundation from which to rebuild their lives.

Does it work? Yes! Beam claims that 80% of its users find paid work, achieving an average salary of £28,000. That stat alone just goes to show that a small business can have a big impact.

Read Beam’s full profile here.

Cancer care for the 21st Century: Careology


After his wife Lucy was diagnosed with cancer in 2015, wearable tech entrepreneur Paul Landau was astonished at the lack of digital tools available to help patients.

With 15 years of healthtech experience under his belt, Landau started Careology to bring cancer care into the 21st century for the 2.5 million people in the UK who have been diagnosed.

Careology helps people with cancer to feel safe, feel more in control of their diagnosis, and understand their condition. Patients are connected to their clinical and support teams through a mobile app, which also helps them to adhere to their medication and treatment plan.

Meanwhile, healthcare providers have access to vital patient information, which helps with triage and care delivery.

All in all, it means better treatments, better outcomes, and more “up days” for everyone.

Read Careology’s full profile here.

Bespoke mental health: My Online Therapy

My Online Therapy

Mental health has been very much on the agenda over the last few years, and rightly so.

According to Mind, one in four of us will struggle with our mental health in any given year, yet costs, accessibility, and stigma can prevent people getting the treatment they need.

My Online Therapy is the virtual clinic democratising access to mental health care by connecting people to leading psychologists via video, live chat, and daily coaching.

For a very reasonable price, its bespoke service matches users to the most appropriate therapy, and the best psychologist for their needs. They can then communicate with their dedicated therapist as often as they like for support and guidance.

Helping people improve their mental health doesn’t just benefit those individuals, it benefits everyone around them as well. That’s why My Online Therapy is one of our startups championing a better tomorrow

Read My Online Therapy’s full profile here.

Inspired? Check out the full Startups 100 2020 index here, and discover more world-changing businesses!

Written by:
Henry Williams headshot
Henry has been writing for since 2015, covering everything from business finance and web builders to tax and red tape. He’s also acted as project lead on many of our industry-renowned annual indexes, including Startups 100 and Business Ideas, and created a number of the site’s popular how to guides.
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