Forest Gate woman named one of Forbes magazine’s top 30 entrepreneurs under 30

PUBLISHED: 07:00 23 March 2020

Ellenor McIntosh and Alborz Bozorgi with Sadiq Khan. Picture: Ben Broomfield

Ellenor McIntosh and Alborz Bozorgi with Sadiq Khan. Picture: Ben Broomfield

Ben Broomfield

A young scientist has been named one of Forbes’s 30 top entrepreneurs in Europe aged under 30.

Ellenor McIntosh from Forest Gate made it onto the US business magazine’s fifth annual list after inventing a plastic-free wet wipe.

The 26-year-old said: “We’re still a start-up and really excited to be launching to consumers. To have people of such a high calibre saying, ‘Keep going, you’re doing good stuff,’ is really encouraging.”

Ellenor’s invention – called Twipes, a shortened version of toilet wipes – break down within three hours in water.

Traditional wet wipes made of plastic have been blamed for creating fatbergs which choke sewers. They also line riverbeds and can destroy ocean ecosystems.

Regular wipes take an estimated 100 years to biodegrade and release micro-plastics as they do. They are a single-use plastic, but unlike plastic straws they have not been banned in the UK.

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Ellenor, on what sparked her invention, said: “When it comes to baby care and personal hygiene, people aren’t as willing to compromise. I realised that people would sooner change products than their habits.”

She teamed up with Twipes co-founder Alborz Bozorgi, after meeting at the Islington campus of City University.

For three years, the pair based their start-up in Islington, until they were offered free space at Allia Future Business Centre in Hackney as part of Allia’s Future 20, a programme for 20 of the most innovative start-ups working to address the most pressing global and local challenges.

Making the Forbes 30 Under 30 list is just one of many recognitions the young scientist has received. In 2017, she and Alborz scooped the Mayor of London’s entrepreneur award.

And as an individual, Ellenor was honoured at the Black British Business Awards, won the 2017 UK Women’s Start-up Competition, and in 2019 received the Diana Award for her humanitarian work in science.

“I was delighted to win the Diana Award last year. A huge part of Diana’s legacy has been reaching out to people of all backgrounds, breaking through the barriers of class and touching the hearts of many.

“I think if she were here today she would agree, to be environmentally conscious, that shouldn’t be a luxury, it’s a necessity.”

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