John Roberts

Founder, and Chairman, OnSide Youth Zones

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John is a British entrepreneur, businessman, investor and passionate philanthropist. He is the Founder of online electrical retailer and the Chairman of OnSide Youth Zones, an initiative that is transforming youth provision in the UK.

John founded in 2000 following a £1 bet with his friend that he couldn’t change the face of the white goods market. Twenty years later, with the industry changed, it has proven to be a valuable bet: AO has gone from three people to nearly 3,000, spans across three countries – the UK, Germany and the Netherlands – and was valued at £1.2bn at IPO in 2014. Together with CEO Steve Caunce, John has built a culture at AO that is obsessive about delivering amazing service.

John firmly believes in the responsibility to give back. He is a long-standing supporter of the development of opportunities for young people and is Chairman of OnSide Youth Zones, a pioneering charity working to ensure that every young person in the UK, regardless of circumstance or background, has somewhere to go, something to do and someone to talk to. OnSide’s network of state-of-the-art Youth Zones provides young people in some of the UK’s most disadvantaged communities with safe, affordable and inspiring facilities, helping to build lifelong skills, confidence and imagination. In 2017, there were more than 400,000 visits by young people to an OnSide Youth Zone.

John lives in Bolton with his wife Sally and their five children. He will appear at One Young World 2018 The Hague.