YCF Annual Conference 2022 has ended
On Thursday 1st September, at the Surgeons Quarter in Edinburgh
This year, we focus on the business essentials which are crucial to a young company’s ability to survive and grow. Over the lifespan of a business, founders have a number of critical decisions to make. Some of these, made early in the development of the company, have effects long into the future. Founders starting out need to know the basics (and many founders start with little business experience), but getting the basics right is essential for future-proofing the company’s continuing progress.
Our speakers will be highlighting the issues which they consider basics in a number of different contexts – staffing, marketing, operations, and finance – and explaining how getting these right can accelerate a company’s development, and making the wrong call can create a legacy which takes a long time from which to recover.
avatar for Dr Jennifer Rao-Williams

Dr Jennifer Rao-Williams

J-RAO Limited
Founder & CEO
Lüneburg I Dundee
About the founder 
Hello, my name is Jennifer and I am a sustainability researcher and founder of J-RAO Limited. Whilst completing my PhD at the University of Dundee in 2017, I decided to utilise my environmental expertise to develop an ambitious retail business through participating in the Elevator Accelerator. My mission was clear from the outset: to develop a range of products which would buck the trend in an often unsustainable, unethical cosmetics industry and respond to the growing demand for more conscious consumables. Building on my ability to bring a concept to market, I have over 13 years experience in research on sustainability, transformation and climate change, and a deep understanding of the systematic impacts resulting from the production of consumables, but also the role of sustainable business practices in supporting resilience.

About the brand 
J-RAO is a Conscious Cosmetic Collective that was founded in 2017 in the City of Discovery, and UNESCO'S first (and still only) UK City of Design, Dundee Scotland. The idea behind J-RAO is simple: We believe that conscious consumerism is no longer a trend, it’s an urgency - we also believe that the cosmetic market provides a really exciting space to tackle many challenges faced by the consumer industry by developing premium products with ethical values.

Building a better shaving experience for people and planet 
At the centre of the Conscious Cosmetic Collective is our ambition to build a better shaving experience for people and planet. Through funding from the Scottish Enterprise, we collaborated with a V&A Award winning designer to develop an innovative new shaving product which will revolutionize the subscription shaving industry. The product incorporates circular design principles through innovative features and materials, novel packaging, and a competitive value-based online subscription service. The evidence of our environmental impact will be backed by an established data tracking platform. Also supporting us in our path toward a new zero waste shaving product include manufacturers in Angus and ocean recycled plastics sourced from the Scottish seas.

Why we are joining the event 
We are excited to join this event and connect with potential investors and promote our crowdfund with those that share an interest in responsible production and consumption of goods and services. The official crowdfund launches on the 31st of August and if we hit our target amount of £10,000 we will be eligible for match funding by Dundee City Council. This first phase of investment will enable us to finance the manufacturing and begin the launch campaign costs for the UK market in 2022.

Our awards 
2018: By Design Scottish Enterprise Award
2021: Venture Competition Winners (Graduate category) 
2021: Converge Challenge Semi-Finalist 

Our ecosystem
RBS | Entrepreneur Accelerator Edinburgh (September 2022 cohort)
Dundee Elevator Accelerator (Alumni 3rd cohort)
Women’s Business Station (Growth member)
Business Gateway Dundee (Growth member)
Circular Tayside (Ambassador)
Dundee & Angus College (Apprenticeship provider)
Stockholm Environment Institute (Research Associate)
Leuphana University, Institute for Ethics and Transdisciplinary Sustainability Research (Research Associate)

My Friends

  • avatar for Lissa Herron