Cemal Ezel Virgin StartUp MeetUp
Change maker. Cemal Ezel being interviewed by Ben Keene.

Whether you watched online or joined us in London, a huge thank you to everyone for helping us kick off our new era of hybrid MeetUps. 

Here’s what we learnt from speaking to Cemal Ezel, founder of Change Please coffee and Serious Tissues. 

No idea is unique

Starting up can be intimidating, especially when people tell you that your idea’s been done before. 

Cemal reflected with our host Ben Keene on the strength and self belief you need when working on new projects or something that has never been done before.

“The most dangerous thing in the entrepreneurial world is people telling you if it was a good idea, someone else would've done it. It’s just nonsense because they might not have been brave enough to do it, you might build it in a different way,” he explained.

Cemal and his colleagues ignored the doubters and set out to build an MVP which demonstrated the business model - and social impact - worked. 

Seek out support

Lots of our audience were inspired by the journey that Cemal went on to develop Change Please. So, he outlined some key factors that helped him build such a powerful and impactful business.

“Mentor support was great because it gives you the guidance and reassuring confirmation that you are doing the right thing.”

After getting a Start Up Loan with Virgin StartUp to buy his first coffee truck, the mentoring and community that accompanied the cash helped Change Please go further.

“It was invaluable to get the money, stress test the idea and get the mentoring and that was the launch pad we needed to grow,” he said. 

If you’re looking to start up, take a look at how we can help make your business goals and ideas into reality.

Build impactful partnerships 

Change Please now supply their coffee to Virgin Atlantic, Avanti and Penguin to name a few. 

The self-confessed "recovering City trader" revealed that when partnering with other businesses, the first thing you need to focus on is “understanding what that company’s values are and what their interests are.”

“I always say, it's not the company, it's the person you find and that person being the champion,” He said. “Trust that connection, how it can work and work your way through to where you can deliver it.”

His top tip when trying to create a relationship was to “be persistent, find the right person and contact them at the right time.”

There was even more discussion with our Q&A session after, paired with some fantastic networking too.


Thank you so much to our friends at Virgin Money Kensington for the venue, Cemal himself and our host Ben for facilitating such a brilliant talk. Watch our behind the scenes set up here.

And of course, to all our budding founders and MeetUp regulars - thank you for your questions and helping us kick off our new hybrid MeetUps with a bang. We hope you enjoyed and took some tips away to inspire your own startups.

Keep an eye out for our next MeetUp by following our socials and subscribing to our newsletter for early and exclusive programme announcements.

Virgin Money Logo

Virgin Money are here to disrupt the status quo. They want everyone to have a much happier relationship with money. They provide a full range of banking products, services and digital solutions to help founders at every stage of their business journey. Find out more by visiting their website.

Virgin StartUp MeetUp events are designed for digital and delivered monthly. To be amongst the first to hear about upcoming events and more, sign up to our newsletter.