An XFE beneficiary, and former RAF officer, has won a ‘Dragons Den’ style competition to secure the top investment of £50,000 for their children’s skincare business.
Hannah Saunders, founder and Director of Toddle skincare, aced her live presentation at ‘Pitch It Wales’ to be one of just two investment offers made by the esteemed panel of judges including Hayley Parsons, founder of financial services comparison website GoCompare.
Pitch It Wales winner and Toddle owner, Hannah Saunders, said:
“I was quite nervous before my pitch, as I was second to last, and had watched investors fail to secure any money. Some of them had great ideas so I was starting to feel a bit pessimistic about my chances. However, I’d practiced my pitch hundreds of times, so knew I could deliver it well. I therefore focused on just doing the best I could.
“I was thrilled when the panel came back in after deliberation, and delivered the news that I had secured £50,000. I even had a little sob, so Hayley Parsons came and gave me a hug! An indication of just how hard starting a business is, and the subsequent relief felt when it all starts to go well.
“I have now also secured a further £50,000 from private investors, and shall be using the money to employ a marketing director, and ensure funds for marketing the launch of the product.
“I left the RAF last year and used X-Forces to start the business. From loans to the business plan, they were there to help me on my way. I’m not sure where I’d be without them. I look forward to the coming year, when hopefully Toddle starts to build revenue and become a real success.”
Investor and judge, Hayley Parsons, commented on the competition:
“The panel witnessed a high calibre of pitching and entrepreneurial talent during the event. Being involved was a thrilling opportunity to exercise my passion for entrepreneurship and investment within the Welsh entrepreneurial ecosystem.
“Pitch It was not only valuable to the finalists but also gave the audience great insight into the workings and thought processes of a vibrant investor network.
“I’m looking forward to observing and playing an active role in the growth of the SME’s that secured equity investment during the event”
Ren Kapur MBE, CEO and founder of X-Forces Enterprise, was thrilled to hear of Hannah’s success:
“Our heartiest congratulations go to Hannah on this significant achievement. We couldn’t be more proud of how far her business has come in just 12 months, and this investment will make a huge impact.
“It is this sort of triumph that gets me up in the morning; XFE is upholding micro, small and scale-up businesses who can and will change the landscape of our economy for the future and our children’s future. Role-models like Hannah will be an inspiration to others in our community of over 1250 business owners, and those yet to take their first step into enterprise.”
Toddle, based in Wrexham, started mass production earlier this year for its unique hand sanitisers, lip balms and other products designed to attach to pram handles and baby change bags.
Operated in partnership with BeTheSpark and Inspire Wales, Pitch It took place at Cardiff Metropolitan University on Wednesday 17th October to an audience of over 120 invited stakeholders.
Hannah Saunders left the RAF in 2017, after nine years of service, to concentrate on building the business idea that came to her when her young son got chapped lips. Read more about Hannah’s first steps into business here.