eBay UK launches Circular Fashion Innovator’s Fund with BFC
eBay UK and the British Fashion Council have announced the launch of a new Circular Fashion Innovator’s Fund. It means a total of £100,000 in funding and additional mentorship for six small businesses specialising in circular fashion solutions.
The partners said the Fund aims to “bring new circular fashion technology and services to the market that can help people think and shop differently”.
The initiative has a particular focus on areas such as customer experience, circular inventory & services, and social commerce.
It comes as interest in secondhand grows with eBay UK selling two pre-owned fashion items every second. That interest has also been helped by its recent sponsorship of TV show Love Island.
eBay, which is the biggest online resale marketplace for secondhand fashion in the UK, “will support the winners of the Fund to grow and thrive like the many thousands of small businesses already on the platform”.
And the BFC will “leverage its industry expertise and access to fashion innovation businesses to identify and assess the circular solutions that are most likely to succeed”.
Meanwhile, environmental charity, Hubbub will support in an advisory role, drawing on its experience in delivering high-profile grant funds.
Applications are open until 3 November, after which a shortlist of 10 businesses will be invited to pitch to a panel of industry experts from eBay and other organisations, which will then choose the six overall recipients of the funding.
Each winner will get a £15,000 grant, and a final overall winner will receive an additional £10,000. They’ll also all take part in a six-week mentoring programme, featuring one-on-one sessions with business leaders from eBay and organisations including the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, as well as networking opportunities.
eBay said secondhand is at a key stage today with — as mentioned — that Love Island link-up being key and driving 7,000% more searches for ‘pre-loved fashion’ on its site compared to the same period last year (May-August).
Lucy Peacock, Head of Pre-loved, eBay UK said: “There’s widespread acceptance across the fashion world that circularity is key for the long-term success of the industry. Over the past few years, there have been so many brilliant start-ups and small businesses that are changing the way we think about a circular fashion economy. We hope that the Circular Fashion Innovator’s Fund will help scale these innovative start-ups in size and reach, and in turn make sustainable fashion practices more accessible to more people and businesses.”
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