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Snappy dress, good cause


‘Suits for Suits’ day raises funds to protect healthcare workers battling Ebola

Suits for Suits day

The normal uniform for people behind start-up companies tends to be jeans and T-shirts, or a narrow variation on that look, so it took a special cause to get the Accelerate Cambridge group of entrepreneurs and advisors all suited and booted on a crisp autumn day at Cambridge Judge Business School.

Accelerate Cambridge, the start-up accelerator at Cambridge Judge, was the first local organisation to participate in Suits for Suits for MSF – an initiative in which people dress up in business suits (or other suits of their choice) in order to raise money for medical aid charity Medecins Sans Frontieres to buy protective suits for use by Ebola healthcare workers.

“I’m a PhD student, so my normal uniform ranges from pyjamas to chinos and a tweed jacket,” said Jason Allen, clad in a conservative grey suit and striped tie, whose Shinbone Networks for building and energy management is being incubated and mentored by Accelerate Cambridge.

Suits for Suits for MSF was launched by Kaye Coleman-Rooney, an Accelerate Cambridge mentor and director of the Doing Words marketing communications company in Cambridge. She hopes to raise £1,000 by Christmas through Suits for Suits days at various companies and organisations – at which people are urged to don suits and donate.

“The news about Ebola seems overwhelming, but I thought, ‘Why not light a candle?'” said Coleman-Rooney.

These days many workers wear jeans and T-shirts every day, so putting on a suit is something they can very easily do in order to help Medecins Sans Frontieres give the best and safest possible care to Ebola patients.

In contrast, it’s an arduous task to put on a heavy, hot Ebola-treatment suit. The spacesuit-like uniforms – including goggles, mask, gloves, boots and apron – each cost around £40 and must be destroyed after every use to combat the risk of infection.

The Suits for Suits day at Accelerate Cambridge on 6 November will be followed up by a School-wide event at Cambridge Judge on 5 December.