New Entrepreneurs Foundation

Marianne Hughes

Founder, KnowLabel

The Determined Entrepreneur

Marianne is award-winning writer, speaker and the Founder and CEO of Knowlabel. She works between London and Hi-tech park, Shenzhen and Hong Kong.

Marianne had her eye on the NEF programme for a while. She had seen others go through the NEF journey and was attracted by NEF’s focus on encouraging more female entrepreneurs. Having launched a social enterprise at university she was keen to get involved in a host company to develop her skills further.

Her NEF experience gave her the confidence to launch KnowLabel, a digital clothing label which shows the environmental and social impact of what you are wearing. In 2016 she was selected by as one of the UK’s young entrepreneurs to watch.

Since then, she has relocated to China to deepen her knowledge of the garment industry and in August 2018 was accepted onto Entrepreneur First in Hong Kong.

Very much deserved – we think Marianne will go very far.


NEF gave me unprecedented access to start-up life. Shadowing a CEO who knows the sector I wanted to work in meant a great deal and provided me with a valuable mentor. I was involved in almost every aspect of the business from pitching to customers to technical know-how and sourcing new premises. It was a unique experience that helped give me the confidence and drive to speed up getting KnowLabel off the ground.

Marianne Hughes
Founder, KnowLabel

The Programme

We work with bright young people who have big ideas and big ambition. NEF offers aspiring entrepreneurs the chance to gain hands-on work experience in some of the UK’s leading high growth companies. These unique placements support a formal learning programme in entrepreneurship and start-up skills that gives you everything you need to launch your own business.

NEF provides you with a personal coach, expert mentoring and access to an unparalleled business network to deliver a unique development opportunity. The NEF FastTrack has been designed to help you fulfil your potential. We are on a mission to develop the entrepreneurial leaders of the future. If you want to continue your education by building something you care about, read on.

Work placement

We believe in learning-by-doing. You will spend a year working within entrepreneurial teams in innovative organisations. Learn from inspirational people, have a real business impact and earn a salary.

Learning & development

We will equip you with the skills, mindset and frameworks to put your entrepreneurial drive into action. Through our unique hands-on education in entrepreneurship you will learn and grow.

Coaching & mentoring

We match you to an executive coach and business mentor to bring the best out of you and your business. Honest and actionable feedback tailored to you and your ambitions.


Events where you will engage with and learn from entrepreneurial leaders. Grow your network, get your voice heard and learn from entrepreneurial successes and failures.

Your NEF year - What to expect

Refer a Friend

We believe in the power of networks. If you know of anyone who would be great for our programme, please refer them to us using the link below.

Refer a Friend