UCL Advances

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for our bulletin

View our LinkedIn pageView our Facebook pageFollow us on Twitter

SMILE celebrates first two years of supporting business with Awards to fast-growing businesses

4 December 2012

SMILE celebrated moving into a new phase last week, with full financial support from the university through its centre for entrepreneurship, UCL Advances.


Following the end of European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) funding after two years of support for the programme, fifty of those most closely involved in SMILE gathered to celebrate some of its biggest successes, with catering provided by one of the businesses supported by the project, Scandinavian food company Madsen.

To an accompaniment of songs by a jazz trio, the evening culminated in the announcement of awards to some of the participants in the programme over the last two years who have seen some of the most outstanding business progress after their participation.

Winners of the "Outstanding Business Growth" award were private tuition company Teachus, which founders Jay Ruparelia and Remal Tailor set up upon graduating from UCL. Through one-to-one mentoring with businessman Peter Hicks, Jay learned to organize his time, prioritise goals and stay motivated to accomplish their dream of opening their first study centre.

Not only that, but the pair successfully generated enough profit to take on two part-time employees, allowing them to focus less on managing the day-to-day running of their business and more on driving future growth through winning new business. With that focus they have now opened a total of five study centres, which have been used by close to 1,000 students across London.

Design company Lemon Ribbon was the winner of the "Increased Economic Performance" category, with an increase in performance of over 600 per cent, whilst in the "Jobs Created"  category, winner Winterwood Tutors took first prize with an increase of 240 per cent in the number of jobs in their business.

“The SMILE programme has made a significant, tangible impact on companies all over London,” said Ruth Hou, manager of the programme. “We’re looking forward to many more years of supporting some of the capital’s most promising and dynamic businesses, helping to create new jobs and contributing to the growth of the economy in the process.”