Woking-based start-up The Change Academy is a finalist in the south east section of the UK StartUp Awards.

The awards were launched to recognise the booming start-up scene across the UK, which accelerated to more than 900,000 new businesses founded in 2023, a 12% increase on the previous year.

Some 900 businesses have been shortlisted for this year’s awards and the contribution to the economy of these firms, all of which were started in the last three years, is significant: nearly 6,000 new jobs have been created since they were established, generating annual sales of £480 million.

The Change Academy is a leadership training, strategy consulting and coaching company founded by Sarah Partridge in 2022. The business has been nominated for the Business, Consulting and Management StartUp of the Year Award in the South East.

Sarah said: “We're absolutely thrilled to be nominated for this award. Over the past two years we've poured our hearts into building a consultancy that drives impactful change and it’s incredibly rewarding to be recognised alongside other innovative start-ups.

“We're especially proud of our partnerships with high-profile clients like England Rugby. These collaborations solidify our commitment to excellence and empower us to develop truly effective leadership development, strategy and coaching programmes for employees in Surrey and the rest of the UK.”

The winners from each of the 10 regions, which are decided on 8 May, will be invited to the first UK final, at Ideas Fest, the Glastonbury for Business festival, in Tring, Hertfordshire, on 12 September.

Professor Dylan Jones-Evans OBE, creator of the UK StartUp Awards, said: “Start-up businesses are the life-blood of any economy, being responsible for new jobs, innovation and wealth creation. The finalists represent the best of those entrepreneurs who have spotted an opportunity and through sheer hard work, talent and perseverance, have created amazing new businesses.”