2023 Startups 100 | Kitchen Table shortlist and award winner

Our Kitchen Table nominees prove you don’t need millions in outside investment to start a business - just a bold idea and the determination to deliver it.

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Written and reviewed by:
Helena Young

Imagine someone who has just come up with society’s next big invention. Chances are you’ll probably picture a smartly-dressed business person, perhaps gazing out at London’s skyline from a 10-storey office block.

Well, The Apprentice series finale, this is not. In reality, most entrepreneurs don’t have a million-pound office space. They have their lightbulb moment while browsing the supermarket aisles, riding the bus, or – like Steve Jobs – in a parent’s garage.

But what starts as a small side hustle can very quickly grow into a superpower – as the shortlist for our Kitchen Table award demonstrates.

Every one of our nominees featured on this year’s Startups 100 Index and began with little or no initial investment. Some simply bootstrapped (self-funded) their way into running a bountiful, fully-fledged business. Most have even developed their dream around other commitments, such as a successful career or childcare.

With the help of our guest judge Alison Loveday, senior manager at Scottish Enterprise, we’ve chosen a winner from our list of five outstanding nominees. Read on to find out who took the crown.

Alison Loveday
Introducing Startups 100 guest judge, Alison Loveday

As a senior leader of the High Growth Entrepreneurship team at Scottish Enterprise, Loveday has over 25 years of business development experience. She currently heads the delivery of Scotland’s flagship programme, Unlocking Ambition, initiated by the First Minister. Through it, she is building a supportive, innovative entrepreneurial ecosystem in Scotland, widening access to financial and business support for founders.

WINNER: Bold Bean Co.

Bold Bean Co.

Startups 100 WINNER
2023 Startups 100 | Winner of the Kitchen Table award

In recognition of the enterprise that began as a hobby and, through sheer determination and little-to-no initial funding, has turned it into a disruptive, scalable business.

Learn more about Bold Bean Co

It’s time to spill the beans.. congratulations to the winner of the Kitchen Table award for this year’s Startups 100 Index 2023: Bold Bean Co!

Amelia Christie-Miller started Bold Bean Co. quite literally, at the kitchen table. While hungover and studying abroad in Spain, she was eating creamy, tasty heirloom butter beans straight from the jar when she began to ponder the huge role that legumes will play in society’s inevitable shift to a sustainable, meatless lifestyle.

After three years of working in the food sustainability space with top London chefs, Christie-Miller launched Bold Bean Co with cofounder, Ed Whelpton. By turning her green expertise into a sustainably-packaged, premium food product, she and Whelpton hope it will get the whole country on board the bean wagon.

Loveday is a convert, telling Startups that the product and company “scream quality and passion [and] the knowledge and creativity of the founder will take the business far.”

Amongst its many BOLD achievements, Bold Bean has already secured major stockists such as Planet Organic, Selfridges, and Waitrose. Loveday sees plenty more partnerships on the horizon, praising the startup for “promoting the vital message of planet-friendly cuisine [to] get the ear of large retailers as well as home meal delivery companies.”

Loveday admits she found it extremely difficult to compare such incredibly different businesses, but she was instinctively drawn to the hungover brainchild.

“Although it is very early in their journey, everything about the product, the mission and the passion is right and hits all the bells for taking an ethically-led product to the mass market”, she says.

Runner Up: Sloth Move

Sloth Move

Given the volatility of the UK’s property market, getting your hands on a new pad has become a monumental task in itself. But when Anna Page and Jack Roberts tried to move home in 2019, they were surprised to meet another barrier: changing the many (many) records of their address.

Inspired, they joined forces with cofounder Daniel Esturillo to create SlothMove. The change-of-address service saves home movers an average of 15 hours by updating their address across major providers (including Royal Mail, the NHS, and HMRC) in just three minutes.

Starting a tech business with zero funding is a difficult feat. But thanks to clever tactics – including winning a mentoring session with Dragons Den's Piers Linney – SlothMove is now making 10 times more revenue than at the same time last year, and has managed to help 75,000 people move home.

The startup has certainly put the moves on Loveday, who describes SlothMove as a “clever product that tackles a very real pain point for consumers. Sloth Move has a real opportunity to establish itself as the go-to for home movers.”

Runner Up: Tiwani Heritage

Tiwani Heritage

Look up the term ‘entrepreneurial spirit’ in the dictionary and we won’t be surprised if you find a picture of Carol Lathbridge and Lola Cawood, cofounders of Tiwani Heritage. 

Having bootstrapped the business since its inception, along with being new mothers and both working full-time, the two faced a lot of challenges. But they also knew the potential of their designs for premium, sustainable extensions for natural afro and curly hair textures.

Driven by their determination, Tiwani Heritage successfully launched during the first wave of the pandemic. Despite having limited funds and a small marketing budget, the founders have used savvy methods such as winning competitions and guest appearances to promote their product. It might have started small, but the brand now offers 20 styles, has begun a pre-seed investment round, and is looking to start equity crowdfunding soon.

Loveday says: “This is a very special business which is breaking into an important market and they have already made super progress. Putting their eco- credentials front and centre of their product is a smart move and using crowdfunding to ride the wave of consumer/stakeholder support is to be applauded.”

Runner Up: Snuggy

Snuggy

Snuggy cofounders, Jack Griffiths and Joel Pierre didn’t think they had a million-pound plan when they started the business in 2019. They just wanted to make a few extra quid over winter.

But just two weeks after launching, the brand had sold thousands of Snuggies and Griffiths and Pierre were struggling to keep up with demand. The two very quickly changed tactics and set off on a mission to turn Snuggy into a recognised global brand.

In terms of growth, the brand is heating up. Having started the business with a combined £40,000 in savings, the startup has bootstrapped its way to a six-figure company and increased its product line from three to 70. And, having made use of influencer marketing to great effect, Snuggy now boasts a cult social following of over 150k.

Loveday warmed to the Snuggy name instantly, telling Startups: “Snuggy has fantastic growth already with a very popular and timely product. I am sure this company will continue to grow. I like that they are already diversifying rapidly into related products.”

Runner Up: Power Sheds

Power Sheds

Jack Sutcliffe and Simon Hobson had been working together at another shed company for a combined 38 years when they first dreamt up Power Sheds’ innovative, modular shed product.

Propped up simply by the strength of a concept, the company began with no bank loan, no investment, and no crowdfunding. Using a small pot of savings, the founders leased a factory in Bradford and purchased some second-hand machinery to make its innovative, modular shed. In the first month, they managed 15 orders.

From a modest start, Power Sheds is now a multi-million pound powerhouse that manufactures 3,600 sheds a month with over 80 members of staff. And, with designs to open three more manufacturing sites in 2023 – including one in the US – there’s no sign of the company slowing down.

Loveday praises Power Sheds for its “hugely impressive revenue growth and very talented team. I really like that they are already seizing international opportunities. They know what they do well and this translates into consumer confidence to stand them in great stead to be the market leader.”

What does the Kitchen Table 2023 shortlist tell you about the state of startups in 2023?

Fledgling entrepreneurs might feel they don’t fit the stereotype of being a business owner. But our shortlist above proves that you don’t need a skyscraper office or a team of employees to birth the UK’s next startup success.

Because while our top five firms demonstrate a diverse range of products, business models and founder backgrounds – all of them share one common trait: a daring and disruptive idea.

“Despite the challenges of the pandemic, which endure, the ingenuity and perseverance of these startups is inspiring,” says Loveday. “They are proof that with a genuinely great offer, hard-work and a great team – anything is possible.”

In part, the recent wave of successful kitchen table businesses is due to the dismantlement of one of the biggest barriers for new businesses: raising finance.

Startups can find it difficult to gain access to capital through traditional lending sources. But there are a variety of emerging, alternative ways in which funding can be found. Loveday points to the trend of crowdfunding as an example.

Easily the most popular alternative funding source is self-funding, or bootstrapping. Historically, this method has unfairly been seen as disadvantageous to startups. But Loveday argues that bootstrapping is actually a shrewd choice for SMEs – particularly in the current climate.

“Historically there has been an over-reliance on public sector funds and grants. Whilst they have a place, the entrepreneurial mindset should always be a lean mindset,” says Loveday.

“Bootstrapping is integral to this. Even once a company starts to take on its first hires and expand its operations, the mentality of being resourceful, agile and lean will serve them well.”

Written by:
Helena Young
Helena is Lead Writer at Startups. As resident people and premises expert, she's an authority on topics such as business energy, office and coworking spaces, and project management software. With a background in PR and marketing, Helena also manages the Startups 100 Index and is passionate about giving early-stage startups a platform to boost their brands. From interviewing Wetherspoon's boss Tim Martin to spotting data-led working from home trends, her insight has been featured by major trade publications including the ICAEW, and news outlets like the BBC, ITV News, Daily Express, and HuffPost UK.

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