Developing startup ecosystems around the world

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Setting the scene

What do you get when you bring together the Innovations Director of a fifth-generation family bakery, and the founder of a hugely successful social enterprise built on amazing people and ground-breaking technology? The answer is a life-changing moment for both of them. And it was all thanks to Slush – and PwC.

Developing startup ecosystems around the world

“Meeting Andrew was a moment of real connection. We had the same vision and ambition. And the same belief that if you want to make a positive change in the world you can’t do it alone.”

Tom Herbert, executive, Hobbs House bakery

How we helped

Slush is a not-for-profit organisation matching entrepreneurs and tech talent with top-tier international investors, multinational corporations, family businesses, high-net worth individuals looking to invest, executives and the media. PwC has been partnering with Slush since 2010 and in 2015 PwC became Slush’s first global partner.

Along with Slush, PwC plays an active role in developing startup ecosystems around the world and supporting entrepreneurs as they work to get their ideas off the ground and build sustainable businesses.

One example is Tom Herbert, a successful executive in his family firm, Hobbs House bakery, and an ambassador for the humanitarian charity, Tear Fund. He came to Slush with PwC looking for inspiration, and some ideas about where to take his life next.

Andrew Bastawrous had already founded Peek Vision, bringing eye treatment and optical care to remote communities in Africa through the development of state-of-the-art mobile apps.  He came to Slush with PwC, to share that experience, but also to meet leaders of family firms, who’d built businesses based on strong values.

They clearly had a huge amount in common already, but it was their shared passion for baking that really sealed it.

“We bring together creative, energetic people with big ideas and big ambitions, and if we’re really lucky, good things can happen.”

Stephanie Hyde,PwC Global Clients and Industries leader


Within weeks of returning home, the two had started working together. “My wife Madeleine and I had set up a small bakery in Kenya to provide employment with profits paying for eye care,” says Andrew, “but it was at a crossroads and needed some expert input. Tom gave us that.  And he came up with great ideas like using the premises to train people to be ‘micro bakers’ in their own communities.”

In Tom’s case, the change has been more personal. “What I admire most about Andrew is that he inspires people to be their best. He’s certainly inspired me - to take braver decisions, to make a leap of faith. And that’s what I’m doing now, in my own life. That wouldn’t have happened without meeting Andrew, and it wouldn’t have happened without Slush.”

“This is a perfect example of why our partnership with Slush is so powerful,” says Stephanie Hyde, Global Clients and Industries Leader.