Deloitte announces first 30 Social Innovation Pioneers

Deloitte announces first 30 Social Innovation Pioneers
Civil Society, by Jonathan Last
Business advisory firm Deloitte has selected the first 30 social enterprises for its Social Innovation Pioneers programme.

Deloitte will provide over £1m worth of tailored support to the ‘Pioneers’, including bespoke guidance from the firm’s senior advisers who specialise in each specific market area or growth challenge, as well as workshops on common issues such as investment-readiness and leadership.

The 30 diverse businesses – which include Autism Works, Pants to Poverty, Global Ethics, Capital Conflict Management and the Brightside Trust – were selected for their “innovation in tackling social and environmental challenges with new business approaches, and for their high growth potential”.

The Social Innovation Pioneers programme aims to accelerate success in the social enterprise sector. The Pioneers have been selected from across the UK and have revenues ranging from £14,000 to £26m, covering a variety of sectors, including healthcare, technology media & telecommunications, environment, consumer business, financial services, and manufacturing.

Peter MacDonald, managing director of Autism Works, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have been selected. In the UK only 15 per cent of 500,000 people with autism are in employment. Deloitte’s guidance and support will be invaluable in helping us to ensure that we can reverse this appalling statistic.”

Heather Hancock, managing partner for talent and brand at Deloitte, added: “The response to our programme was overwhelming. We’ve found an exciting mix of Pioneers – from start-ups to more established businesses, from healthcare spin-outs to cooperatives, from technology companies to consumer businesses.
"We’re realistic about the challenges and risks that lie ahead for us and for our Pioneers – there is no guarantee of long-term success in this challenging market. But we’re really excited about the opportunities this will bring for us to help them deliver sustainable social impact, as well as what we can learn.” 

Deloitte received over 300 applications from potential Social Innovation Pioneers from across the UK. All of the applicants had to demonstrate a sustainable positive impact and high-growth potential. Eighty-one of the social enterprises were then invited to a face-to-face interview with partners from Deloitte and representatives from organisations including Social Enterprise UK, Big Issue Invest and the London Business School.