We begin with the winner of the ‘Start-Up Business of the Year’ award, sponsored by Facebook, which recognises an early-stage company that is most successfully transitioning from an idea to an operational business. The winner had a commercial idea, a strong and sustainable business plan and a dedicated, enthusiastic management team, and this winner was Toddle, created by Hannah Saunders. Toddle is a brand of natural, vegan skin-care products for babies and small children, designed to be adventure-proof whilst still kind to delicate skin.
Impressively, Hannah came up with the idea for Toddle whilst still serving in the RAF, after becoming a mother and finding that other products were not able to stand up to the active lifestyle she wanted to maintain for her family. Hannah attended business courses and secured funding for the business whilst still serving, before setting up a non-executive team to help support her ambitions. Hannah has had input in the product at every level, from package design to product formulation and she states that her previous career in the RAF has set her up well for the challenges faced in establishing a successful business:
“Running my own business has taught me that as a veteran I’ve got more skills than I thought. I’m often more prepared than others, more driven and more determined. I also worked for some tough senior officers who expected an exceptional level of detail in all I did. They forced me to think of the second and third order effects, and from this feedback I always ensured I was over prepared.”
Please click here to find out more about Toddle.