Regional Finalists: Yorkshire and Humber

We’re delighted to be working with the Yorkshire and Humber region for the first time this year, and we’ve got six regional finalists from the area, with two finalists from each of Leeds Arts University, the University of York and the University of Sheffield.

Our finalists will now move on to the final stage of the Develop Platform, with one-to-one mentoring and online tutorials to help them fine-tune their business plans in the run-up to our final submission deadline in April.

Zeezy Qureshi and Ella Hopkin, from the University of Sheffield, run Motion Exercise, aiming to tackle social isolation and a lack of physical activity by designing and delivering inclusive interactive exercise programmes to older adults. Their programmes are designed to empower people to maintain a healthy lifestyle into later life.

Ella and Zeezy of Motion Exercise

Also from the University of Sheffield is Chris Blackmore, who is hoping to address the rise in mental health problems in young people, and the lack of access to engaging ways of addressing these issues. With a partnership of University academics, designers and University students, Chris will co-design a VR tool called LifePathVR which enables the user to create an immersive version of their life story, which they can then use to reflect on life events, to engage in therapeutic activities, and to share with others if they wish.

Michaela Lesayova

Sweatelier is the brainchild of Leeds-based artist Bea Haxby. She’s aiming to foster a diverse community of healthy, creative and self-actualising individuals, through the creation of affordable calisthenics gyms that combine excersize with life drawing and the study of anatomy.

Also from Leeds Arts University is Michaela Lesayova, who founded LivingWell, offering life coaching services to people with nervous system issues and those who have experienced trauma. Her idea was inspired by her own PTSD and her experiences working with neurodivergent individuals for the past five years.

ReStitch is a team made up of University of York students, focusing on helping new refugee families settle down and find their new homes within housing accommodation. Michael Kemp, Maria Witczak, Madison Leigh Bailey-Moyes and Em Bonvoisin will be working with local charities to help refugee families feel more comfortable in their homes by helping supply items and decorations to help them feel at home and welcome here.


Our final Yorkshire and Humber finalist is Geneffa Virjee, who has developed Learning Loved, an English foreign language programme for 5-to 11-year-old marginalised learners. Geneffa hopes to foster social empowerment in immigrant and refugee communities in the UK through the power of education.

If you’re inspired by our participants’ stories, and want to support their businesses, get in touch at




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