Barclays Mentoring and Support for Social Enterprises

UK Ambassador Alex Safavi on the collaboration between Barclays Ambassadors and School for Startups to support social entrepreneurs.


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Since the Summer of 2012, Barclays One Young World Ambassadors have been working to design a programme to find and support the country’s most talented and promising social entrepreneurs.

The project was born following the Barclays Ambassadors participation in the One Young World Summits in Zurich and Pittsburgh, where Barclays graduates were inspired to support new social enterprises, which often have tremendous potential but limited backing.

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On returning to Barclays, Ambassadors set about brainstorming, eventually coming across the idea to utilise Barclays’ expertise and assets within financial services to launch a mentoring and assistance program for social enterprises. We felt that we would have the biggest impact if we utilised Barclays’ collective influence and knowledge and also believe that social 
businesses offer investment opportunities that are both socially beneficially and financially robust.

Planning and organising the project alongside our day jobs was challenging, but the support and encouragement from a large network of people both within and outside of Barclays was incredible and helped immensely in terms of designing the programme itself, as well as preparing for the project’s launch.

Monday 20 May saw the launch of the project, Barclays Mentoring and Support for Social Enterprises, where a group of Barclays One Young World Ambassadors hosted a day in association with School for Startups to find the country’s most promising and inspiring social entrepreneurs.

This day was in particular the result of much planning on behalf of the Ambassadors, in terms of organising the logistics of the day and reaching out to relevant networks, as well as having publicised the initiative’s application process to social enterprises.

The one-day course led by Doug Richard from School for Startups, focused on defining and growing a social enterprise and was open to social entrepreneurs under the age of 30, who have been running their social enterprises for less than two years.

50 social entrepreneurs attended, gaining a fantastic opportunity to learn from Barclays business leaders including Group Chief Executive, Antony Jenkins and Head of Personal and Business Banking, Steve Cooper.

Doug Richard hosted three interactive discussions throughout the day that focused on the core principles of starting a successful social enterprise and the key questions to ensure its success.

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Antony spoke passionately about Barclays‘ support of social enterprises, before offering the delegates an invaluable opportunity to gain his insights into the challenges faced by their businesses.

Concluding the day, the delegates had the chance to pitch their business to an expert panel for a chance to win a tailored support package provided by Barclays Mentoring and Support for Social Enterprise.

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Five of the businesses were selected to receive this special support package, which is designed to accelerate the growth of these promising social enterprises. These businesses were selected based upon their potential for social impact as well as the extent to which they would benefit from the Barclays package.

The tailored support packages include:
• The chance to attend the One Young World Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa
• One-on-one mentoring from a Barclays Executive
• Access to the Central Working hub in London
• Immediate access to online knowledge and support community Barclays Connector
• A range of internal business workshops and training in London
• A full pack of leading business software

For more information about Barclays Mentoring and Support for Social Enterprise, please contact: [email protected] 

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(Organisers:  Claudia Gwinnutt, Adil Jiwa, Anna Howell-Phippard, Paul Dimon, Claire Reid, Evgenia Rasheva, Alex Safavi, Paolo Zeppetelli, Rich Lawlor, Rosemary Madagwa, Adam Hussey, Oli Pepper)