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Shell pledges £1,000 if you’ve got a great idea

The Mail on Sunday

JANUARY 18 2009


FOR budding entrepreneurs without a credit history, rising capital from the banks can be particularly challenging. 

But a scheme launched last week by Shell aims to help 16 to 30-year-olds get their businesses off the ground.

The Anglo-Dutch oil giant will offer five £1,000 cash awards each month this year to young entrepreneurs. The winners will also be able to enter its Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, worth £10,000.

While £1,000 may not seem a lot, it can make all the difference for a start-up, according to Tom Mursell, 19, who launched his careers advice website with £1,000 in savings six months ago.

The Southampton-based careers website for school and college leavers has since picked up £12,000 from an investor and more than £7,000 in sponsorship deals.

He says: ‘I got my funding through a post on an online business forum. It works like a shop front, but it is much cheaper.’  

Securing a Shell award could also open doors to the banks. Shell UK chairman James Smith says: ‘The money represents a vote of confidence in your idea, which could encourage banks to help too.’  

Shell Young Entrepreneur of 2005 Jamie Murray Wells founded his website Glasses Direct with £1,000 of his student loan in 2004. The firm, based in Baker Street, central London, now turns over £4.5 million.

‘The prize money was great, but the real benefit was getting the Shell brand behind the business,’ he says. and its sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

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