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Business Enterprise Award 2023

From early-stage start-ups to established small businesses, FHS Alumni Association award up to £10,000 to support fellow Old Girls in business with the Business Enterprise Award

In 2021, under the directive of Co-chairwomen Audrey Mitchell and Anne Cyron, the Alumni Association established the Business Enterprise Award, offering up to £10,000 to support fellow Old Girls in a variety of business and entrepreneurship initiatives, from early-stage start-ups to established small businesses.

In January 2023, the Alumni Association launched the second Business Enterprise Award, and, as ever, the quality of applications was outstanding. Five alumnae were invited through to the second round of the application process, which involved submitting a business plan and further detailed financial information and reference checks, before proceeding onto an interview with Alumni Association Committee members. The judges meticulously assessed each business proposition on several factors, including sustainability and social responsibility, before deciding on this year’s three winners:

Lily Carr-Gomm (Class of 2017)

Sasha Almonte (née Courtenay-Stamp, Class of 2013)

Emiko Ishii (Class of 2004)

Lily Carr-Gomm - Class of 2017 – Last Bus Magazine

Lily, awarded £4,000, is Founder and Editor-in-Chief of music and culture magazine, Last Bus. Says Lily, ‘I set up my own music and culture magazine (almost four years ago now!) and it is my pride and joy. We have just started to expand from uploading interviews and reviews and organising photo shoots to hosting live gig nights and curating festival line-ups, and soon hopefully much more. I heard about the enterprise initiative from our 'Class of 2017' group chat we all still very much use, so I am very grateful for my FHS girls!’

Socials: Instagram, Twitter: @lastbusmagazine

Facebook: Last Bus Magazine

Sasha Almonte (née Courtenay-Stamp) - Class of 2013 – The Thin White Duke

Sasha opened cocktail bar, members’ recording studios and music production house, The Thin White Duke, in 2022. Located on Soho’s renowned Great Windmill Street, the neighbourhood’s creative spirit played an integral role in the life and music of David Bowie, the eponymous Thin White Duke.

'It's been an absolute honour to receive the £3,000 award’, she says. ‘It's set us off on our journey of bringing our new brand to market, allowing us to begin developing our product and start market testing. It's also a truly persuasive endorsement as we go out to present our project to potential investors in a very competitive arena. The process also afforded me the invaluable opportunity to hone my pitch and talk through the numbers with an expert panel. I look back with so much gratitude on my time at Francis Holland - the teachers and their encouragement really granted me the confidence to branch out and establish my own business at the age of 26 in a male-dominated industry.'

Socials: Instagram: @thethinwhitedukelondon

Facebook: The Thin White Duke London

Emiko Ishii - Class of 2004 – Epika Dance

Bollywood fusion dance company, Epika Dance, established in 2012, received a £3,000 award. Says Founder and Artistic Director, Emiko Ishii, ‘Winning the FHS Business Award gives me the opportunity to share my knowledge and passion for Bollywood dance globally. My online training course and mentorship programme “Bolly-On” will allow aspiring dancers and teachers to take their dance career to the next level from the comfort of their own home. This grant will allow me to create the initial content and marketing strategy that will help to launch the course this year!’

Socials: Instagram:@epikadance

Facebook: Epika Dance Troupe

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