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Left: Juliet Edjere of Maze.  Right: Frankie Lewns of Bloomwise.
Juliet Edjere, who took a Bachelor of Laws at Birmingham Law School, and PhD researcher Frankie Lewns, from the Birmingham’s College of Medical and Dental Sciences, were selected for the Telegraph NatWest 100 Female Entrepreneurs to Watch list, for their roles in creating two new companies, Bloomwise and Maze respectively.

Two student start-ups supported by the University’s B-Elevate incubator have been honoured by their founders’ inclusion in a prestigious listing of UK-based women shaping the future of business.

PhD researcher Frankie Lewns, from the Birmingham’s College of Medical and Dental Sciences, and Juliet Edjere, who took a Bachelor of Laws at Birmingham Law School, were selected for the Telegraph NatWest 100 Female Entrepreneurs to Watch list, for their roles in creating two new companies, Bloomwise and Maze respectively.

Bloomwise was supported in the initial stages by funding from the B Enterprising Ideas Fund, which supports Birmingham students with business ideas or projects, and both companies were supported by the University of Birmingham Elevate programme, an exclusive incubator that delivers a business growth programme designed to support Student and Graduate entrepreneurs to the next level of their growth.

The watchlist celebrates 100 women in business who are pushing boundaries, redefining success, and inspiring others. The judging panel, which included executives from the NatWest Group, the Telegraph, the Federation of Small Businesses, and the UK Business Angels Association.

These accolades are thoroughly well deserved. We are passionate about creating entrepreneurial opportunities for our students helping those with significant ideas fulfil their potential, so it’s been a privilege to watch how well Frankie and Juliet have succeeded at growing their businesses. I am delighted for both them, and their businesses, and look forward to seeing what’s next.

Nicola Gittins, Deputy Director of Student Entrepreneurship and Enterprise at University of Birmingham

Bloomwise

Frankie set up Bloomwise to provide proactive mental health solutions for companies during the pandemic. The company was co-founded with Dr Paris Alexandros Lalousis of the School of Psychology in the College of Life and Environmental Sciences while he was also doing his PhD. It started out as an idea generated at a Virtual Consultancy Challenge in March 2020 where the Centre for Mental Health invited post-graduate researchers to find a policy or practice solution that would help small businesses support the mental health of their workers.

The Bloomwise founders won the competition, with a framework based on solid principles underpinned by research, that allows businesses to develop a Mental Health Plan with clear objectives, realistic timescales, early intervention strategies, and informs the preparation of contingency plans to address mental health issues.

In addition to the Mental Health Plan, and Mental Health Workshops, Bloomwise, which is now a team of 6 at its base in Birmingham, has now developed a Workplace Mental Health App, which has a daily check-in functionality to allow people to track their own mental health and workplace health, identify mood, stress levels, and workplace engagement trends, and organisational-level reports for employers with anonymised and aggregated employee data.

Nicola Gittins, Deputy Director of Student Entrepreneurship and Enterprise at University of Birmingham said: “These accolades are thoroughly well deserved. We are passionate about creating entrepreneurial opportunities for our students helping those with significant ideas fulfil their potential, so it’s been a privilege to watch how well Frankie and Juliet have succeeded at growing their businesses. I am delighted for both them, and their businesses, and look forward to seeing what’s next.”

The award means so much to me because I am always striving to do more for women in areas in which they are underrepresented, such as in STEM and business. I hope I can use my platform to inspire other girls and women to continue to break barriers and smash glass ceilings. To be recognised by The Telegraph and NatWest for the work I do at Bloomwise is a huge honour and it shows me that following my heart and doing what I love and am passionate about works.

Frankie Lewns, co-founder of Bloomwise

Maze

Inspired by their personal relocation stories, Juliet and co-founders Sarah Nantume and Winner Adebayo set up Maze in 2021 to provide a specialist service that helps newcomers to settle more seamlessly into the UK. The company’s service eases what can be a frustrating and bureaucratic experience and is guided by a downloadable App. The App offers a flexible and intuitive digital relocation solution designed to help the user own their journey. A relocating user can organise and plan their move via the mobile and web App available on Google Play and App Store, with access to personalised support from pre-arrival to settlement. Their website also features free resources and tools to help relocators save on cost, time and stress.

The company’s service helps people ‘navigate the maze’ of relocation, prompting users in a timely manner on their essential relocation tasks such as getting a UK SIM card, registering with a GP surgery, opening a bank account, and getting Biometric Residence Permit, which confirms identity and visa status, and getting a National Insurance number.

What a privilege it is to be a part of such a brilliant cohort of the UK's brightest female founders. I'm thrilled to serve as a role model for young black women and I couldn't be more proud of myself. I couldn’t believe I was listed alongside other leaders from various sectors who are working to make a difference in society. Sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of the impact of your work as we strive to make positive changes in society.

Juliet Edjere, co-founder of Maze

Nicola Gittins, Deputy Director of Student Entrepreneurship and Enterprise at University of Birmingham said: “These accolades are thoroughly well deserved. We are passionate about creating entrepreneurial opportunities for our students helping those with significant ideas fulfil their potential, so it’s been a privilege to watch how well Frankie and Juliet have succeeded at growing their businesses. I am delighted for both them, and their businesses, and look forward to seeing what’s next.