Good Things winner in national start-up contest

Good Things a Winner in National Start Up Contest at House of Commons

Good Things has been named a winner in a national business start-up competition. Finalists pitched their business ideas at an event at the House of Commons on Tuesday 22nd October. 

Lucy with SJL founder Simon Lancaster

Good Things founder Lucy with Simon Lancaster, founder of the SJL Foundation


On Tuesday Good Things competed in a start up business contest, pitching for £2,000 and a year's business mentoring as part of the SJL Foundation's Business Start Up Contest. 50 start-up businesses from around the UK entered the competition and eight finalists were invited to an exclusive event hosted in the House of Commons where they pitched their business ideas to a panel including a former dragon from Dragon's Den. 

Lucy explained the concept behind Good Things, and how her first-hand experience witnessing the impact of plastic pollution on marine life led her to explore alternative uses for plastic waste. Good Things champions small suppliers making innovative and sustainable products including toys made from recycled plastic waste and recycled cards empowering orphaned young adults in Rwanda. Lucy passionately believes that the choices we make when we buy products can have a positive impact. Good Things makes it easy to find eco-friendly gifts, toys and games for children that are kind to the planet and improve lives around the world. 

Lucy at House of Commons start-up pitch

The panel were very supportive of the concept, saying it tackled the high-profile issues of plastic waste and hidden supply chains. They were also impressed with the website and brand's design and encouraged Lucy to look into manufacturing products in the future.

“We were impressed by the ethos of Good Things which delivers great gifts which are also kind to the environment, their manufacturers and are also sustainable,” explained the judges. “Although we did not have any pre-conceived ideas, we were really impressed with the quality and variation of the merchandise. The business has a positive impact that reaches far beyond the person receiving the gift and we knew we wanted to support that positivity and help Lucy to develop her business further. The combination of financial support and mentoring from the SJL foundation will help her to do this.”

"It feels incredible to win this competition. I'm so grateful to Simon Lancaster and the SJL Foundation for providing this fantastic opportunity." explained Lucy, founder of Good Things. "The funding will allow me to spread the word about the ethical and eco-friendly gifts for good that I sell in my online shop. This will provide a huge leap forward in my start-up's growth, and in turn support the work of the charities and small suppliers around the world whose products I stock."

Lucy's pitch at the House of Commons

"Leaving my career and launching a start-up was a big risk; coming to the House of Commons, pitching my business and then being announced a winner in this competition and knowing that the panel of experts are behind me and investing in my business is a huge boost."

Simon Lancaster explained: “I started SJL Insurance 18 years ago with two grants with the combined value of £500. I’d like to help others set up their own business, so I am launching the SJL Pay It Forwards movement, so that the story comes full circle."

“Each finalist had to agree before we accepted them as a finalist, to Pay It Forward so that they also help another start-up entrepreneur too.  Before they help them, they must first get that start-up entrepreneurs agreement that they too agree to Pay It Forward, and before that entrepreneur mentors their future mentee they must get their mentee to also agree to Pay It Forward beforehand. From thereon in that is the pattern to be repeated in the future - and so the SJL Pay It Forward movement grows and grows for the good of communities across the nation.”

The event finalists at the House of Commons

Lucy and the finalists with founder of the SJL Foundation, John Lancaster (fifth from left) and former dragon from Dragon's Den Rachel Elnaugh (right), outside the House of Commons

Find out more: Press release: SJL Foundation announce names of 8 finalists that will pitch their start-up business idea in the House of Commons

Press enquiries

We welcome press enquiries. Check out our press contact page.

Good Things is an award-winning online shop that seeks out inspiring ethical and sustainable products that support charities, empower people and protect our planet. We share these products and their inspiring stories of social and environmental impact in our online store. We want to make it easy for people to find feel good gifts, and reduce plastic waste.

Good Things was founded in July 2019 by female entrepreneur, Lucy Willoughby. After spending time in Nepal and Tanzania, working with entrepreneurs setting up small businesses, Lucy was inspired to let the world know about the ethical and sustainable products she found and the projects they support. Find out more.

Since launching in July 2019, Good Things has been featured in BBC One's Sunday Morning Live, and The Guardian, won the SJL Foundations's Start-Up of the Year Contest, and the Fast Track to Growth Award. Lucy is a finalist for the Entrepreneur for Good Award at the 2020 Great British Entrepreneur Awards for the South West region.

Back to blog
Hand holding seedling

Win £30 of Good Things

Join our movement for good

Sign up to receive emails with uplifting news about people and planet, plus you'll have the chance to win a £30 Good Things gift card!