Insight — Meet the five DBACE-winning companies inspiring positive change through creativity
On June 30th, Deutsche Bank Awards for Creative Entrepreneurs (DBACE) announced the five winners of its £50k pot of funding to the world. Here, we get to know the winning enterprises putting social values first, and hear their experience of entering the competition itself.
Back in February, we announced the launch of this year’s Deutsche Bank Awards for Creative Entrepreneurs, calling for applications from young, ambitious creative entrepreneurs with a business idea for social good. Created by Deutsche Bank as part of its CSR [corporate social responsibility] social enterprise programme Made for Good, the scheme is one of the oldest creative investment initiatives of its kind, and now runs in partnership with creative-business incubator MeWe360.
Initial submissions closed in April, and according to MeWe360’s founder and CEO Kevin Osborne, this year’s 428 entries were of an even higher quality than last year. In May, a shortlist of 19 applicants was announced for the ‘live heats’ event, where the emerging entrepreneurs presented to a panel of industry and business judges, before being whittled down to eight finalists. Then, on June 30th, the eight finalists made their last pitches to the judges, before the five winners were announced as part of the award ceremony – hosted over Zoom due to ongoing social-distancing measures.
“Every project reflected the signs of our times.” – Farooq Chaudhry OBE
Due to the quality of the submitted ideas, the judges explained that it had been an incredibly difficult decision. “This was the hardest [award] I’ve had to judge,” shared Farooq Chaudhry OBE, co-founder and producer of Akram Khan Company, describing each of the prospective winners as having “depth, breadth of vision and fearlessness; every project reflected the signs of our times.” Fellow judge Lareena Hilton, Deutsche Bank’s Global Head of Brand Communications & CSR, agreed, adding that this year’s finalists were truly “innovative thinkers” who had shown resilience and adaptability, especially in the face of unprecedented global change. Farooq and Lareena were also joined by Jude Kelly CBE, founder and director of the Women of the World Foundation, alongside MeWe360’s Kevin Osborne.
Below you’ll find more information on the five winning companies, who all joined the ceremony, hosted by comedian, speaker, and facilitator Reuben Christian – who reminded viewers that funds had been awarded based on the development needs, rather than how good the idea was. Scroll on to discover the brilliant organisations destined for big things.
Meet the winners
Bethany Williams (left) and models wearing her designs
A sustainable fashion line donating to good causes
Company: Bethany Williams London
Founder: Bethany Williams
DBACE investment: £10,000 and MeWe360’s tailored, 12-month support programme.
Bethany Williams set up her eponymous fashion label in 2017 after studying fine art and later fashion design at London College of Fashion. The brand uses recycled and organic materials, is all produced in the UK and creates lines in collaboration with communities and charities. The business currently sustains itself through wholesale, but Bethany’s bigger goal is to be able to sell direct to customer, with profits donated to charitable causes. With access to the funds from DBACE, one of the first things Bethany intends to do is build a new website to enable this.
Reflecting on the pitching process, Bethany described it as a period of growth; “I’m really shy, so having all the coaching has been amazing. It’s given me confidence in what I do as well.” As a winner of the scheme, Bethany now recommends applying to DBACE to anyone with an idea that fits the brief: “For young creatives in social spaces, don’t be afraid [to apply],” she encourages, “even if people laugh at your idea.”
Enayball founders Eli Heath and Pete Barr
Tools that turn wheelchairs into drawing and painting devices
Founders: Eli Heath and Pete Barr
DBACE investment: £10,000 and MeWe360’s tailored, 12-month support programme.
Created by Eli Heath and Pete Barr, Enayball produces design tools that allow anyone with a physical disability to draw, paint and create art. The painting device effectively turns wheelchairs into creative tools, and has already attracted multiple design awards. As recipients of £10,000 of DBACE funding, Eli and Pete now intend to grow their business, with the first stop being new content and workshops developed around their products.
But the investment wasn’t the only positive the pair took from the application process; “It’s always good to practice pitching and get your vision into a (five-minute) pitch format, ” they shared, as well as acknowledging the “great life skills” they’ve taken from the coaching they received along the way.
Make Your Own Masters founder, Stacie Woolsey
A learning programme shaking up traditional education
Company: Make Your Own Masters
Founder: Stacie Woolsey
DBACE investment: £9,000 and MeWe360’s tailored, 12-month support programme.
Stacie Woolsey founded Make Your Own Masters in response to the inaccessibility of MA programmes. Due to the cost of fees and supporting yourself through this time, it’s estimated that only 10% of the population is able to afford this level of study. Instead, Make Your Own Masters has been developed as an alternative education ‘experiment’, working closely with industry to shape and guide the studies of the current cohort of 10 learners.
Strengthened by £9,000 of funds from DBACE, Stacie is now looking to make the initiative more sustainable in the longterm. And, as with many of the fellow applicants, she has taken the application journey as a chance to nail the company’s mission; “I know the story of the project,” she says, “but this taught me how to tell it in a short space of time to new people, and what I need to take it forward.”
Standing Ovation Project founder, Anthony Daulphin
A scheme empowering kids with confidence through creative skills
Company: Standing Ovation Project
Founder: Anthony Daulphin
DBACE investment: £5,000 and MeWe360’s tailored, 12-month support programme.
Based in Birmingham, Anthony Daulphin set up the Standing Ovation Project to help raise the aspirations of young people and children, by growing their confidence through creativity. Run as a community hub and within 54 schools across the West Midlands, East Midlands and London, the aim is to build an in-house radio station to give voice to those involved. This, he hopes, will allow kids to explore the science, production and instruments behind music-making, essentially teaching “the things you wouldn’t see being taught in schools.”
As Anthony accepted the award, he acknowledged that one of the most crucial elements in his success so far has been down to his support network; “The reassurance from supportive people who told me to go for it; that’s been the driving point for me;” as well as the benefits of meeting and pitching alongside likeminded entrepreneurs through the DBACE application process.
Word on the Curb
An agency connecting young people and brands
Company: Word on the Curb
Founders: Ndubuisi Uchea and Hayel Wartemberg
DBACE investment: £18,000 and MeWe360’s tailored, 12-month support programme
As a youth insight and content agency, Word on the Curb was created by Ndubuisi Uchea and Hayel Wartemberg to connect brands and companies with millennial and Gen-Z groups from disenfranchised backgrounds. This work extends to involving young people in the making process too, helping them upskill through the content and video-production process.
When they were announced as the recipients of the highest funding award of £18,000, Ndubuisi and Hayel shared, “[We] can’t tell you how humbled we are,” explaining that it had been “a real privilege […] to share the platform with other worthy winners, all doing work to uplift society.” As for their plans with the investment, the pair described their ambition to develop “scalable technology” that will help them collect valuable insight on a much higher level.
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We have partnered with Deutsche Bank’s CSR Made for Good social enterprise programme to bring you coverage of DBACE opportunities and its impact. You can learn more about DBACE here.
Every year, Lecture in Progress partners with like-minded brands and agencies to support our initiative and keep Lecture in Progress a free resource for students and emerging creatives. To find out more about how you can work with us, email [email protected]