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Reach for the Starlings: 15 social entrepreneurs to watch in 2022

Being an entrepreneur these days encompasses a lot more than just running a business, entrepreneurs around the world, along with their investors, have been diverting more of their attention and resources towards important social issues. Many entrepreneurs have even chosen to base their businesses around solving a variety of problems faced in society across the globe.

Alongside our partner Starling Bank, the Great British Entrepreneur Awards prides itself in supporting and celebrating the most talented entrepreneurs in the UK.

Read on to find out about some of the best entrepreneurs who are passionate about solving different social issues through their entrepreneurial journey and their business efforts – in our 15 social entrepreneurs to watch list in 2022.

Chara Clark – GLOW

Chara Clark established GLOW in 2011 after experiencing first-hand the struggles women are facing in today’s society. GLOW is a registered charity operating in Belfast, made to challenge the status quo and provide women with the support needed to improve their self-esteem and help them become empowered, by offering programmes and courses to women of all ages and needs. 

Matt Crate & David King – Toucan

Toucan App, created by Matt Crate and David King, provides people with a quick and easy way to donate to a variety of charities. The app, which recently featured on Dragons Den, aims to encourage and enable millennials, and younger generations a flexible and personalised way of contributing to charities that mean something to them. The app aims to provide people with a way to give that matches up with the way we now live – fast and efficiently. 

Julian Hall – Ultra Education

Julian Hall founded Ultra Education to provide resources to budding young entrepreneurs looking for lessons and mentoring from the right people. Ultra Education is now the UK’s number one provider of entrepreneurial education and uses entrepreneurship to inspire positive and lasting change in the lives of young people who would otherwise suffer with disadvantages at their starting point. They offer mentoring and guidance through school programmes, after school clubs, online, and kids business fairs. 

Kiran Hothi & Sonam Kaur – Not Your Wife

Kiran Hothi and Sonam Kaur aim to create a conversation around and amplify the voices of South-Asian women with Not Your Wife. Not Your Wife is a new media company that uses articles, events workshops and partnerships to create a space to discuss, openly and honestly, the experiences surrounding the diaspora of South-Asians as well as increasing their representation.

David Johnston – OutsideIn

David Johnston is the socially conscious founder of OutsideIn, a fashion business sporting the “wear one share one” model. Founded in 2016, OutsideIn makes sure that for every purchase made on their website, an item of clothing is given back to the community in accordance. Outside in has already donated almost 100,000 products across the globe in 36 countries and 200 cities.

Alice Moxley – Pivot

Alice Moxley founded Pivot, the social enterprise that empowers people experiencing homelessness. Pivot specialises in making handcrafted jewellery using limited tools and training. All of the profit made is then reinvested back into the business to help bring purpose, meaning and flexible employment to those who may not have access to it. The support on offer can then make the pathways out of temporary accommodation a lot more easier for many. 

Dr Joan Murphy – Talking Mats

Talking Mats, founded by Dr Joan Murphy is a social enterprise with a unique approach to tackling the communication issues faced by many with disabilities. Talking Mats open up new pathways for individuals with communication difficulties to express their views regarding their own well-being. They do this through the unique approach to communication symbols, creating a set of symbols that have been specifically commissioned and designed alongside speech and language therapists on the Talking Mats team. Talking Mats are now being used in schools, care homes, and many other health and social care settings 

Jen O’Brien – Music Broth

Music Broth, with Founding Director Jen O’Brien, is an inclusive social enterprise dedicated to connecting individuals and creating a community through the use of music, by providing people with access to musical instruments. Music Broth ultimately aims to remove the barriers between people and access to musical instruments. They do so by providing communities with instruments, creative learning opportunities, and supporting musicians and volunteers, as well as ensuring their practices are sustainable by restoring donated instruments – decreasing musical waste.

Rosie Oglesby – Page & Bloom

Page & Bloom, founded by Rosie Oglesby is a sustainable social enterprise established to create employment and career development opportunities for women who have experienced domestic abuse. Page & Bloom is a profitable company, however they offer these women paid employment, support and hope for a bright career future. The business hand crafts paper flowers made solely from recycled materials, which sell to individuals, weddings, corporate events and much more. Page & Bloom provides fair opportunities for women who need it. 

Ellen Petts – Greenstream Flooring CIC

Ellen Petts created Greenstream Flooring CIC in response to the huge amount of waste she saw in the flooring industry. Greenstream Flooring CIC is dedicated to the reuse and recycling of carpet tiles, reselling and fitting to business and home owners across the UK. Greenstream Flooring CIC ensures that no tiles are sent to landfill and makes sure they are reused and repurposed in an environmentally friendly way. 

James Reid & Lewis Greenwood – Fink Street Food

James Reid and Lewis Greenwood created Fink Street Food, a social enterprise street food and events caterer with the mission to break down mental health stigma. Through their food experiences, Fink Street Food aims to blow the mental health conversation wide open and encourage their customers to be more conscious of their own mental wellbeing – by providing information, supporting services and raising awareness. Fink Street Food are also committed to giving 50% of their profits towards their mental health mission. 

Ishita Ranjan – Spark & Co

Spark & Co, founded by Ishita Ranjan, is on a mission to tackle the inequalities brought about by COVID, by helping to equip users with the knowledge and tools they need. Spark & Co covers a multitude of COVID related topics such as vaccine myths, how to navigate healthcare during lockdown and how to process grief remotely. You can also find information and resources surrounding trans rights, gender-based violence and other issues that marginalised communities may be facing. 

Trewin Restorick – Hubbub

Trewin Restorick’s charity, Hubbub, describes itself as “a creative agency for environmental issues”. Hubbub designs campaigns focused around environmentally friendly ways of living and promotes products, services, and practices we could all be doing/using to live more environmentally friendly. Partnering with JustEat last year, Hubbub helped the app implement sustainable practices that positively impacted the environment and also their customers.

 Nav Sawhney – The Washing Machine Project

Nav Sawhney founded The Washing Machine Project to help those without a washing machine say goodbye to hand washing clothes. The Washing Machine Project, as the name suggests, attempts to relieve the burden of hand washing from those who don’t own a washing machine by providing low income and displaced communities with an accessible off-grid washing solution.

Eloise Skinner – One Typical Day & The Purpose Workshop

Eloise Skinner is the founder of both One Typical Day and The Purpose Workshop, alongside being an author, teacher and a therapist. The Purpose Workshop has a mission to channel profits into creating educational resources and sharing them with a network of schools completely free of charge. The workshops and resources on offer aim to help you redesign your life so that you are able to live with more intention, direction and design. Her second business One Typical Day was founded to help students figure out their first careers, in a relatable and accessible format. The careers content platform has been set up for the next generation of students, working closely with careers services to provide relevant and engaging content.

Applications are now open for this year’s Great British Entrepreneur Awards, enter here.