Published Thursday, 22nd April 2021

Redhill-based My Vegan Dulce de Leche by Vegan Crazy was one of 16 new businesses to compete to win an investment grant provided by Reigate & Banstead Borough Council.

A photo of the winner of the Entrepreneur Academy 2021Earlier this month, entrepreneurs from across the borough were given the opportunity to deliver a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style pitch to a panel of local business leaders. Following impressive pitches from all the entrants, the £5,000 prize grant was awarded to Cintia Yankelevich, to increase production and support the development of My Vegan Dulce de Leche. Two other businesses based in the borough, Leafy Learners and CJW London, were awarded £1,000 in Business Support Grant funding.

The competition forms part of the Entrepreneur Academy, a free programme run by Reigate & Banstead Borough Council in partnership with East Surrey College. The academy invites entrepreneurial residents to apply for the opportunity to learn the essential skills needed to set up a new business. Topics covered as part of the course include business planning, finance, marketing, legal, and digital communication skills, with the programme concluding with the opportunity to pitch for £5,000 in business funding.

Simon Bland, Head of Economic Prosperity at Reigate & Banstead Borough Council, said: “We saw a really high calibre of entrepreneurs deliver a range of business proposals as part of the Entrepreneur Academy 2020-2021 competition. All of them demonstrated great ambition and creativity. It was tough to choose a winner but Cintia demonstrated hard work and drive to expand in a growing market.

“It’s been heartening to see the depth of entrepreneurship we have in the borough – people are clearly adapting to the challenges of the past year and are motivated to pursue new and exciting ventures.”

Cintia Yankelevich, founder of Vegan Crazy, said: “What an experience! Apart for the money, which will help a lot, it has given me an incredible boost in confidence. I can’t wait to develop my business further using everything I have learned on the programme. I fully recommend it!

Jayne Dickinson, Chief Executive, Orbital South Colleges added: “The standard of business entries this year was exceptional, especially in many cases under very personal and challenging circumstances.  The College is very proud of the partnership and how it enables business ideas to be brought to life within our local communities.  We look forward to continuing to work with Reigate & Banstead Borough Council in supporting the cohort and new recruits for 2021.”

The Entrepreneur Academy, now in its 8th consecutive year, was set up to support entrepreneurs across the borough to launch successful businesses. Aspiring entrepreneurs who would like to apply to take part in the 2021 Academy should visit the Entrepreneur Academy pages of the Reigate & Banstead website for more information.