Poundland founder Steven Smith has helped brother and sister entrepreneurs, Emeka and Ifeyinwa Frederick, to complete their crowdfunding campaign to raise £30,000
The pair launched the campaign to secure a first permanent location for their Nigerian tapas restaurant, Chuku’s London.
Emeka and Ifeyinwa, who were finalists at the NatWest Great British Entrepreneur Awards in 2018, were one of six businesses showcasing themselves as part of the Great British Entrepreneurs Champions Hall of Fame event. Speaking to the brother and sister, host Wynne Evans asked how much they had left to raise to complete their crowdfunding campaign. They explained that they needed a further £1,500 before the deadline.
A call came from the audience. That call was from Steven Smith, the founder of Poundland, a member of the GBEA judging panel who himself was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Steven, reminiscing how his Dad helped him get his first business off the ground, offered to donate £1,500 and complete the sibling duo’s campaign.
The duo even went on to surpass their target, raising a total of £36,000.
Emeka and Ifeyinwa were understandably thrilled both to hit their £30,000 target and to receive the backing of the man who created the £1 retail industry.
They said: “In truth, we didn’t really understand what was going on. When Steven said he would do it, we thought he was joking. Even when we exchanged contact details we thought maybe he would change his mind. But Steven kept his promise and helped us exceed our target. When we saw he’d done it we were dancing around and screaming at each other down the phone.”
In total, Chuku’s campaign received the backing of nearly 600 people.
“That’s huge! 580 people who believe enough in our vision that they put their own hard earned cash behind it – a true showing of community spirit,” Emeka said.
“The fact that a seasoned entrepreneur and businessman like Steven has backed us is extra validation that what we’re doing is an exciting, viable business – and gives us extra determination to make it a huge success and confidence that we will.”
The duo added: “We’re grateful that GBEA gave us this opportunity to showcase our business, and that we seized it and put ourselves out there. It’s already made a huge difference and it could lead to even more.”
As an organisation on a mission to be more than just an Awards ceremony, it was an incredible moment for us.
Francesca James, founder of the NatWest Great British Entrepreneur Awards, said, “This perfectly encapsulates everything we are trying to achieve with the NatWest Great British Entrepreneur Awards, not only celebrating fantastic entrepreneurs but building a thriving community that supports and encourages each other.
“To see one of our judges and Hall of Fame inductees meet a previous finalist, be attracted by their flair and passion for their business and support their crowdfunding campaign is wonderful. I’m delighted for Emeka, Ifeyinwa and Steven, and will be keeping a keen eye on Chuku’s progress.”