AMBASSADORS & JUDGES
We have teamed up with some of the UK's leading social entrepreneurs who will be providing insight and inspiration throughout the campaign by telling their story and shining the light on other social entrepreneurs through their involvement in the UK Social Entrepreneur Index selection panel.
Find out more about our ambassadors and judges below.
Arabela is passionate about innovation and working in technology driven environments, and has successfully led geographically dispersed teams to adopt collaboration tools and approaches.
As well as being a previous judge of the Social Entrepreneur Index, Arabela is a support volunteer with Launchpad Reading and a Take a Chance Buddy, where she helps empower young people in local schools to build their confidence.
Josie has spent five years running her own business that provides a grant funding/tender services to training providers, charities, community organisations and social enterprises including CICs. She previously worked as the Contracts and Partnerships Manager for a private training provider/CIC, setting up and managing its Adult Skills work to provide health-based employability programmes to support unemployed/economically inactive adults into jobs, further learning or volunteering. Josie also volunteers for several charities and is a voluntary reporter for the West Leeds Dispatch.
Kat is the Social Entrepreneur Coach who is passionate about helping social enterprise founders and leaders achieve their vision for social and environmental change with sustainable income streams, confident sales and a clear strategy.
She’s designed and led social impact programmess and organisations for the past 15+ years, specialising in the areas of community cohesion, interfaith dialogue, education, equality, diversity and inclusion. With experience of working in the charity sector, public sector and for a short period private sector she has a wealth of knowledge and experience about how these sectors can collaborate and support one another to create positive social and environmental change.
Kat became a social entrepreneur in 2013, setting up Solutions for the planet with her friend Jen Baughan. She also hosts the Creating Social Impact podcast, and has a free Facebook Community - The Impact Entrepreneurs Club providing a community of hundreds of entrepreneurs and leaders from around the world, passionate about creating positive social and environmental impact through business.
A passionate and inspiring social entrepreneur, Kate is committed to creating an ecosystem in which social entrepreneurs and social enterprises can thrive in North East England and across the world.Kate is an active trainer, facilitator and mentor to social enterprises.
She is a contributor to UK Government Departments and Cabinet Office on Social Enterprise policy and a Social Enterprise speaker at International, National and Regional level at social enterprise and regeneration conferences.
As well as inspiring social entrepreneurs through her work with Social Enterprise Acumen CIC Kate is also a Director of Capability North East, Trustee of ACEVO and a Non-Executive Director of the North East Social Investment Company.Kate was awarded an OBE in the 2008 New Year Honours for services to social enterprise in North East England and was presented with the Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion in 2016.
Louise Graham FRSA
A personal, executive and leadership coach, and consultant for social changemakers, Louise supports her clients to make better decisions for all.
She has worked with hundreds of changemakers to help them think more creatively about their problems and challenges to breakthrough to make an even greater impact. Louise is also a social entrepreneur and Founding Director of The Glasgow Basket Brigade CIC, Program Mentor & Facilitator for The School for Social Entrepreneurs, and was a judge on the Social Entrepreneur Index Awards in 2020.
She brings this passion and experience together with her background as an award-winning marketeer and brand builder to help social entrepreneurs and changemakers work smarter and not harder at bringing their vision and mission to life.
Sallie joined Social Enterprise Mark CIC in July 2021 to support in a Business Development role where she brought a wealth of experience from across the social enterprise sector. Previous to this, she worked for Social Enterprise West Midlands CIC and was on the delivery team with two Social Enterprise Places: Birmingham and Coventry.
In July 2016, Sallie set up a freelance business providing enterprise support, marketing and event services, and senior level mentoring for social enterprises. She is passionate about social enterprise as an empowering business model that creates a positive impact in communities.
Ben is a Forbes 30 Under 30 social entrepreneur and creative with a passion for developing, stress-testing and driving innovative projects that make a positive difference in the world.
Ben started his journey in the world of advertising and PR and then moved on to build a number of start-ups including Steel Warriors, and an anti-knife crime charity that melts down knives and turns them into outdoor gyms and Temple Wellbeing, a habit-forming mental wellbeing app for employees.
Former North East ‘Woman Entrepreneur of the Year’, Kari has been a creative communications consultant for over 25 years. She founded her award-winning communications agency O in 2005, which has grown to represent high profile national brands.
Kari specialises in working with organisations on their brand purpose and CSR strategy, and is active in her community as a Board member at the Entrepreneurs’ Forum and an ambassador for the Prince’s Trust ‘Women Supporting Women’ campaign to provide greater opportunity and social mobility for young women across the UK.
Chris is Chief Executive at Social Enterprise Scotland. He is an experienced social entrepreneur who has launched a number of social enterprises including the Callander Hostel, which welcomes more than 6,000 overnight guests per year and trains young people in hospitality.
Chris has a background in both formal and informal education, has received national acclaim for his work and, as convener of the Callander Social Enterprise Network, was responsible for Callander becoming Scotland’s first Social Enterprise Town. Chris has an interest in impact investment and is Chair of Impact Investment Partnership Scotland who recently launched the £15m Catalyst Fund to support early-stage social enterprises.
Dena has significant experience in scoping and designing entrepreneurship programmes which deliver impact for social entrepreneurs, leaders of charities and community businesses. Her passion is in working with individuals, teams and boards to help unlock ideas and enable all to reach their potential.
She is an experienced facilitator and qualified coach and brings skills, experience and insights from a diversity of leadership roles across all three key sectors. She is a qualified teacher and senior examiner with a global learning organisation and has founded her own social enterprise which aims to improve educational outcomes for young people.
She is a creative problem-solver, always seeking innovative and sustainable solutions in developing business models to meet social and environmental issues.
Jess Holliland is a consultant and coach working with social entrepreneurs and purpose led businesses in the South West of England. With a wide range of skills and knowledge she describes herself as a General Wizard, supporting ethical entrepreneurs to grow and develop their business, how they communicate, and support them to form beneficial relationships.
She regularly works with organisations like The School for Social Entrepreneurs, Plymouth Social Enterprise Network, Enhance SEN, Santander Universities and a number of independent social enterprises. As well as her work commitments she has been involved as a volunteer director, trustee and other supportive roles. She is a huge advocate for doing business differently and creating a kinder more inclusive economy and wider world.
Anj Handa, Inspiring Women Changemakers Anj Handa is the Founder of Inspiring Women Changemakers, a global community of changemakers who advocate for fairness and safety for women. Anj has 17 years’ experience of Board participation, including five years as Chair of arts organisation, Freedom Studios and seven years as an Independent Governor of Leeds Arts University.
Named as one of Grant Thornton’s 100 Faces of a Vibrant Economy in 2018, and winner of the AFSA 2017 Positive Action Award, Anj has 20 years’ experience in Social Impact and Inclusion. She was recently recognised in Forbes as one of the ‘10 Diversity & Inclusion Trailblazers You Need to Get Familiar With.’
Bethany Ainsley, award winning entrepreneur established her first business, Nuvo Wellbeing, in 2008. The multi award-winning social enterprise has supported over 36,000 people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds. Nuvo Wellbeing has been recognised nationally and internationally for its work, demonstrating behaviour change and improving health and wellbeing.
Bethany received the David Goldman Prize for Innovation and Young Business Person of the Year in 2015 as a result of her work with Nuvo Wellbeing. She remains on the board, shaping the strategic direction of the organisation. In 2018 Bethany established ActivCare after identifying a training gap within Health and Social Care for physical activity and wellbeing provision. The training provided by ActivCare has been accessed by individuals and care organisations across the UK, New Zealand, Canada and the US.
Bethany founded her third organisation, OptiMe, in 2019. OptiMe's digital platform supports busy, hard-working professionals and businesses alike to proactively manage wellbeing and productivity, particularly during times of growth, development and change. This innovative work was recognised by the Institute of Directors, as Bethany picked up an Award for North East Director of the Year in 2020.
Paul is the founder and CEO of Rising Academies, one of the fastest-growing quality-focused education companies in Africa, and Certified B Corp®. Launched in 2014, Rising provided emergency home schooling to children in Sierra Leone who were kept out of school during the Ebola Crisis, opened its first school in April 2015, and now works with more than 200,000 students across Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ghana and Uganda.
During the COVID-19 epidemic, Rising’s multi-award winning distance learning solution ‘Rising On Air’ reached children in 25 countries and was translated into 12 languages. Before launching Rising Academies, Paul was a founding team member at the Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative in Rwanda and Sierra Leone, and later served as Deputy CEO. He began his career as a think-tank researcher and UK government strategy adviser.
He has a BA and MA from Manchester University, and an MPA from Princeton University. He was named a UBS Global Visionary and a Mulago Foundation Rainer Arnhold Fellow in 2019.
Rachel is a Black British filmmaker and the co-founder of production company Chocolate Films. She works extensively in video production for arts, culture and heritage and works with galleries and museums across the UK, Europe and the Middle East to produce exhibition AV, documentaries and promotional content. Rachel is passionate about producing factual content that highlights human stories and society today.
She is the co-creator of ‘1000 Londoners’, the online documentary portrait of the capital. Her latest long-form documentary, ‘Her Life Matters’, is an insight into an international campaign to reduce maternal mortality. As an advocate for improving diversity in the media, Rachel spearheads a video production workshop programme through Chocolate Films.
Chocolate Films Workshops reaches on average 2-5000 children, young people and vulnerable adults per year. Rachel studied at Bristol University, University of Law and Wimbledon School of Art. She holds honorary doctorates in Law and Business and sits on the panels of Film London’s Film Hub and London Screen Archive Committee. Rachel is a UK Council member of the Creative Industries Federation and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
Rosie is the Founder and Managing Director of Miss Macaroon, a patisserie where 100% of profits are invested into helping unemployed young people gain skills that will help change their lives. Miss Macaroon is also a Gateway Organisation for the Kickstart Scheme, further combating youth unemployment. Rosie is an England Committee Member on The National Lottery Community Fund, and an Adviser on Colmore BID’s ‘Future Business District Study’ Advisory Panel. She was awarded an MBE in 2019 for her services to the community, and her work in providing support for young people facing long-term unemployment.
Sara is an impact-entrepreneur and good business optimist, most recently Co-Founding The Good Business Club. She also mentors the next generation of leaders looking to redesign the world of business, for good. When she’s not banging the drum for purpose-led business, you can find her touring around on her motorbike or breaking the taboo around mental health. The world of business is changing and Sara is leading the charge. She believes there’s a different way to do business that positively impacts people and the planet while still being profitable and is demystifying what that looks like to support business owners create sustainable businesses, for themselves and the world.
Lucy Findlay MBE is the founding Managing Director of Social Enterprise Mark CIC, the international social enterprise accreditation authority. She is publicly recognised as a key player in the social enterprise sector and over the last decade has developed the Social Enterprise Mark from a regional project to an internationally available accreditation, providing a clear standard for the social enterprise sector and added social value. She has been recognised through various sector awards, as well as mainstream business awards and was also appointed an MBE in the 2019 Queen’s New Year Honours, in recognition of her contribution to the social enterprise sector. Lucy remains determined that social enterprise is a legitimate alternate business model and a powerful force to change society. This focus feeds into everything she and the organisation does. She promotes the importance of accreditation to ensure authenticity and verification of social impact and added social value.