AXA Startup Angel

What is AXA Startup Angel?

At AXA, we’re committed to helping small businesses achieve their full potential. We know that starting out can be difficult, and there are all sorts of barriers that might stand in your way – whether that’s financial, business support, or just getting the ball rolling.

Last year, we awarded our top prizes to two fantastic small businesses; EMBLDN and the Association of Black Event Professionals (ABEP).

That’s why we’re holding AXA Startup Angel for the second year running. This year we’re partnering with Evening Standard to find some of the most promising up and coming businesses across the country.

There are 6 prizes to be won, including 2 gold prizes of £25,000, mentoring from the AXA Startup Angels and business insurance for a year from AXA.

What you can win

This year we have three different sets of prizes up for grabs for a total of 6 worthy business. Here’s what you could stand to win:


Our top winners will receive;

  • £25,000 cash prize for your business
  • Mentoring by AXA’s Startup Angels
  • Business insurance for a year
  • A profile article on the Evening Standard
  • Celebration at Progress 1000 Event

There will be 2 winners in this category, each selected by our panel of judges.


Our 2nd place winners will receive;

  • A £10,000 digital ad campaign
  • Mentoring session with teams within the Evening Standard, including; design, marketing, social experts and editorial
  • Business insurance for a year

There will be 3 winners in this category, each selected by our panel of judges.


Our 3rd place winner will receive:

  • A £1,000 cash prize
  • A £1,000 digital ad campaign
  • Featured on competition channel

There will be 1 winner in this category that will be chosen by a public vote.

How does the competition work?

Thinking of entering AXA Startup Angel? Here's what you need to do:

  1. Register your interest – you’ll be asked for a few basic details about your business
  2. Answer 2 written questions – we want to know all about your big idea, how it helps your customers, and what winning would mean for your business
  3. Upload a short video about your business – give us your elevator pitch, why should you be one of our winners?

Ready to enter?

Please note, AXA Startup Angel is being run in partnership with Evening Standard. The closing date for entries is the 17th of July 2022.

Meet the AXA Startup Angels

When you’re first starting out, the best advice you can get comes from those who have been in your shoes. That’s why alongside £25,000 of startup funding and tailored business insurance for their first year, both of our first-place winners will receive invaluable advice and support from the AXA Startup Angels.

So, let’s meet the Angels.

Ian Theasby and Henry Firth, co-founders of BOSH!

Ian and Henry are dedicated to showing the world just how easy it can be to be vegan. That’s why they created BOSH! The pair launched BOSH! from their living room in 2016 with only £15,000 funding. Fast forward to now, and they have best-selling cookbooks, a range of cooking kits in UK supermarkets and millions of loyal followers to their name.

Raphael Sofoluke, founder of The UK Black Business Show and The UK Black Business Week

Raphael’s passion is in diversity and inclusion in all its forms. That's why he founded the UK Black Business Show - the biggest business show in the UK and Europe for black business owners and professionals. Over the last five years he has used his expertise in his work with some of the world’s leading businesses, such as with JP Morgan and HSBC, and is the co-author of Twice As Hard – a book dedicated to helping people of colour achieve and progress in their careers.

Sharmadean Reid MBE, founder of multiple businesses, including The Stack World

Sharmadean champions women in business and is an avid supporter of female entrepreneurs and launched The Stack World in 2021, in order to help create economic and social empowerment for women through technology and media. Sharmadean was named an MBE in the 2015 Queen's Birthday Honours for her services to the nail and beauty industry, and today focuses her expertise on helping people craft their business vision through branding, identity, and storytelling.