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Justgiving reaches regional final of £35 million entrepreneur challenge

Howard Lake | 10 September 2008 | News

Camden-based Justgiving has been announced as a finalist in the London region of the Bank of Scotland Corporate £35 Million Entrepreneur Challenge. The company, which is the UK’s most popular destination for online charity fundraising, will now compete with four other entrepreneurs to secure a stunning £5 million funding package, free of interest and charges for three years.

Zarine Kharas, CEO of Justgiving, must now present her business case to a judging panel featuring two well known and incredibly successful entrepreneurs. Nick Wheeler from Charles Tyrwhitt Shirts and Bill Muirhead from M&C Saatchi, will be joined on the panel by senior representatives from Bank of Scotland Corporate and Deloitte. The panel will be grilling Zarine and the other finalists on their future business plans, as well as looking for someone with an entrepreneurial flair, spirit and vision that sets them apart from the rest and makes them an outstanding choice to receive the once in a lifetime funding package that could change the face of the business.

Zarine Kharas


Why your supporters are wealthier than you think... Course by Catherine Miles. Background photo of two sides of a terraced street of houses.

The judging process will take place on Thursday 18 September and will be followed that evening by a dinner and award ceremony at the Imperial War Museum in London, where the winner will be announced.

Founded in early 2001, Justgiving is the UK’s most popular destination for online charity fundraising, with a mission to enable ordinary people to raise extraordinary amounts for the causes they care about. The company aims to create a diverse and lively online community where supporters can inspire each other to raise as much as possible. If it is succesful in the Entrepreneur Challenge, Justgiving will use the funding to leverage the currently unexploited consumer potential in the US, and establish a second US office on the West Coast whose mission will be to develop the next generation of the product. The Company also has further plans to expand globally over the next 3-5 years.

Zarine Kharas CEO of Justgiving, commented: "We have now reached a level of sustainability in the UK where we are beginning to generate profits, allowing us to reinvest in the business. To date, we have chosen to grow at the most sustainable, rather than fastest, rate. We believe the time is now right to invest in the USA to establish a consumer-focussed presence there. We believe a £5 million funding package will allow us to pursue our global expansion plans more quickly than if we rely on self-generated funding and we’re looking forward to meeting the judges to outline our vision of the future of the business."

David Rawlance, Bank of Scotland Corporate Area Director for London City, added: "Justgiving has made fantastic progress since its formation and now has exciting plans to expand, specifically into America. The judges will provide a stern test but I’m sure Zarine’s entrepreneurial spirit and vision of the future of the company will impress them and make her a very strong candidate."

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How The Challenge works

Applicants entered the Entrepreneur Challenge in seven regions across the UK and each regional finalist will be given the opportunity to present their plans to the judging panel. A funding pot of up to £5m is available for each region and the judges will be looking for real entrepreneurial spirit and a sound business idea. Five finalists from each region will then be invited to a prestigious event in their own region where the successful entrepreneur will be announced.

The seven regional winners will go forward to a national final to be held in December.

Key Dates

11th September South East England regional final
18th September London regional final
2nd October Scotland regional final
16th October South West England and South Wales regional final
30th October Midlands, Mid-Wales and East Anglia regional final
6th November North East England regional final
20th November North West England and North Wales regional final

December National final

Bank of Scotland Corporate, part of the HBOS Group, has a reputation for excellence in the provision of corporate finance, delivering innovative funding solutions across a range of markets. With experience across many areas of corporate finance, including specialist teams covering Joint Ventures, Integrated Finance, Structured Property Finance, Infrastructure Finance and Housing Finance, Bank of Scotland can draw on an expert pool of professionals with proven track records. Bank of Scotland provides funding to more Management Buy-Outs than any other bank in both the UK and Europe and is now recognised as the top UK arranger for PFI/PPP deals. Bank of Scotland Corporate employs around 9,000 employees. Total lending at December 2007 stood at £109.3 billion.