Future Leaders: Elle McIntosh

Ellenor McIntosh is co-founder and inventor of Twipes

Ellenor’s multiple award-winning start-up is bringing to market a range of water-dispersible wet wipes.

Elle McIntosh is one half of the brains behind Twipes – hygienic, water-dispersible wet wipes on a roll designed to fit into existing toilet roll holders. They are free from harsh chemicals and dissolve in water within three hours – an environmentally-friendly alternative to existing wet wipes that can cause serious damage to drains and take a long time to degrade.

She wouldn’t claim to have been a lifelong entrepreneur but she does cite happy memories running a lemonade stand at the age of nine while holidaying at her grandfather’s in Jamaica. Science was her passion but she found the career and funding options were limited. A chance conversation with a friend who kept blocking their toilet with wet wipes led her to wonder if they could be developed to degrade more easily and reduce the burden on the nation’s sewers.

Elle is not only the ‘brains’ behind Twipes, having used her degree in biomedical science to develop the product, but today she is fully hands on with the running of the business. The transition has been a challenge, but an exciting one. She told LEAD: “I had to learn really quickly. I like to know about every part of the business. I went to the sewage plants to see the products break down. I want to be involved at every point. It’s about knowing each side of the business.”

Today she is at the forefront of a new kind of start-up scene.

The entrepreneur world is changing very drastically. It’s no longer about the old white men in suits, so to speak. Especially now, especially in London. The face of entrepreneurship is changing every day. It’s amazing to see. When I think of an entrepreneur, I think of everybody.

We think she is one to watch. After winning the CitySpark award in 2016 with their idea, Elle and her partner Alborz Bozorgi moved into City University’s student start-up incubator, the Launch Lab, to develop the idea further. Since then they have won the Mayor of London’s entrepreneurship award and Elle won the UK round of the Women Startup Competition Europe 2017. With a product due to launch before the end of the year and interest in Twipes building, it’s an exciting time for this young woman who represents the future of entrepreneurship in the UK.

To find out more about diversity in entrepreneurship, check out our special feature in the launch issue of LEAD. 


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