Environmentally friendly toilet tissue company wins Essex innovation award

The Cheeky Panda

New start-up company The Cheeky Panda has won the top prize at the Essex BIG Business Boost competition awards with their environmentally friendly bamboo-based toilet tissue. The competition launched by Essex County Council’s (ECC’s) Essex Innovation Programme (EIP) aims to identify and support Essex’s most promising entrepreneurs and micro businesses.

Since their start up in early 2016, The Cheeky Panda’s product is now successfully selling through high street retailers and companies including Amazon, ethicalsuperstore.com and As Nature Intended. The company has recently secured two export deals and is in meetings with two major supermarkets. The Cheeky Panda’s toilet tissue doesn't contain the chemicals usually applied to traditional toilet paper or recycled paper. Bamboo is also naturally absorbent and thought to be anti-bacterial.

“It’s not just about creating something new, it’s also making a high quality product that on its own would sell well anyway. We wanted to show that you can have high quality low carbon eco product that doesn’t cost the earth.”

Julie Chen, Co-founder, The Cheeky Panda

About The BIG Business Boost Competition

The BIG Business Boost competition aims to identify the county’s most exciting business ideas and concepts. The competition attracted more than 200 entries and will see tens of thousands of pounds of business support, training and cash prizes go to small businesses in Essex. This year the competition offered four award categories…

  • The BIG Business Boost Award  
    Won by Chris Forbes and Julie Chen, The Cheeky Panda, producers of environmentally-friendly, bamboo toilet tissue
  • The Young Entrepreneur Award  
    Won by Justin Ott, Spark, an app extending the range of electric cars
  • The Women in Business Award  
    Won by Genevieve Smart, Genevieve Sweeney  - Premium British knitwear designer
  • The Disability Entrepreneur Award  
    Won by Zoe Cain-Tyler, Culvercroft Equestrian, an international para showjumper taking horse riding into people’s homes via technology & Chelsey Reynolds, Travel Able App, an app to improve the travel experience on public transport for people with a disability

BIG Business Boost winners 2016

Encouraging entrepreneurs to achieve sustainable business growth

The Essex Innovation Programme (EIP) works with small and large companies to help them drive innovation into their businesses. EIP provides support to innovative Essex-based companies and start-ups from research to prototyping through to increased profitability and sustainable business growth.

EIP is helping the winning company with their business planning and expansion through introductions and pitch strategies. Since receiving business support, The Cheeky Panda has…

  • Won the BIG Business Boost competition
  • Been named finalists at the National Business Awards 2016
  • Been shortlisted for the Business Green awards 2016
  • Been shortlisted for “Fast-track Company of the Year” and “Entrepreneur of the Year”
  • Been shortlisted for Richard Branson’s Virgin Media VOOM Impact Award

“We are delighted to be recognised by the Essex Big Business Boost Award for innovation. The prize and PR will really help us get more public awareness about our ethically sourced luxury bamboo tissue.”

Chris Forbes, Co-founder, The Cheeky Panda

Celebrating the diversity of entrepreneurship

The Disability Entrepreneur AwardThis year the Essex Innovation Programme and Essex County Council’s Employment and Skills Unit teamed up to deliver the Disability Entrepreneur Award to celebrate the diversity of entrepreneurship flourishing in Essex. Two prizes were won by Culvercroft Equestrian and Travel Able App.

About the Essex Innovation Programme

The Essex BIG Business Boost competition builds on the Essex Innovation Programme’s ethos to help entrepreneurs and small businesses develop and take to market, their innovative products and services. 

Find out more about the Essex Innovation Programme here.

Source [The Essex BIG Business Boost]

Emma Wakeling
Emma Wakeling

Business Innovation Manager

07921 397050


Leading on the Essex Innovation Programme and developing new support mechanisms to enable Essex businesses to grow. Managing a team of experienced private sector business mentors who work closely with multi-sectoral established businesses and start-ups to embed innovative practices. Focusing on product (including intellectual property), process, organisational and marketing innovation. Developing key collaborative strategic partnerships with industry and academia.

Danielle Putt
Danielle Putt

Innovation & Sector Development Officer

07880 092887


I work within the Enterprise Team to support, coordinate and manage the delivery of a range of activities to deliver the above, including; providing businesses with access to first class innovation support, supporting and developing the delivery of vibrant sector networks, anticipating challenges affecting businesses' competitiveness and plans for growth, and developing and delivering specific and generic solutions.