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The Entrepreneurial Exchange

Entrepreneurs Shine A Light On Social Problems With New Fund

Entrepreneurs shine a light on social problems with new fund

Published Date: 10 May 2009
SCOTTISH entrepreneurs including Jim McColl, chief executive and chairman of Clyde Blowers, and Sir Tom Hunter are getting together to launch a philanthropic fund to help under-25s from disadvantaged backgrounds and people in care.

The organisation Enlight is the brainchild of The Entrepreneurial Exchange and will be launched next week with McColl as chairman. He commissioned a report on the plight of people in care and younger underprivileged age groups. The aim was to identify the issues they face and come up with a list of voluntary groups working in the area which Enlight can support. The research identified problems including poor education, smoking, drinking, mental health problems and crime.

Based on findings from the report, Enlight will concentrate on helping charities and social enterprises to tackle social and economic problems and aid those in need. It aims to help voluntary organisations realise their full potential, be more effective and transform the lives of more people.

McColl said: "We don't want the focus of Enlight to be money. It's more about 400 smart entrepreneurs being keen to give something back. While they do want to put money in, it's not just to make themselves feel good. They want to see a return. It's that entrepreneurial passion to make a difference which we want to capture."

Enlight will explore how businessmen and women can contribute time to voluntary organisations and get them to pool resources.

While it will initially be restricted to members of the Entrepreneurial Exchange, McColl said it may try to get large corporates involved in the longer term.

He said there is a need for an organisation such as Enlight, as the statistics on what care leavers have to endure are "unacceptable". "There are a high proportion of care leavers in prison and there are too many single mothers. This can't be allowed to continue. We need to make a step change. There are organisations working on their own initiative. There has to be a shared vision and a pooling of resources to make a bigger impact."

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