A leading UK pioneer of social enterprise and social investment business models over the last 25 years, Gordon D'Silva's innovative business practices have inspired high profile projects such as Jamie Oliver's 15 restaurant and The Brigade. His pathfinder charity, Training For Life, has helped transform the lives of over 17,000 young people through training, education, apprenticeships and employment.
Gordon D'Silva OBE has been one of the UK’s leading pioneers of social enterprise and social investment business models for nearly three decades. He was one of the first business figures to develop a capital assets model for charities (i.e. the acquisition and restoration of heritage buildings as a social enterprise catalyst to kick-start inward social investment in support of local neighbourhood regeneration).
His pathfinder charity, Training for Life pioneered beyond CSR corporate partnership engagement models to help transform the lives of over thousands of young people through training, education, apprenticeships and employment and created countless new jobs for local people in their various new business start-ups.
Dedicating his life to helping building the lives of others and investing in social enterprise, Gordon is also the founder and President of Young Entrepenurs Lab, Legacy Casa Residencia and Good Business Alliance.
Many of the social enterprise business models he innovated, for example the employment-training restaurant Hoxton Apprentice, went on to become a proto-type for many similar initiatives that followed, including Jamie Oliver’s 15 and, the Brigade. Hoxton Apprentice is one of the only Charity-run social enterprise restaurants globally to have won a Michelin Recommendation for five consecutive years.
In 2007 the UK government adopted Gordon’s proposal for a Social Stock Exchange and in 2014 he became a founding board member of the Retail Charity Bonds PLC, a ground-breaking, publicly listed social investment vehicle on the London Stock Exchange.
Gordon was Ernst Young’s London Social Entrepreneur of the Year in 2003 and again in 2006 and national Finalist in Orange Mobile’s Entrepreneur of the Year in 2004. He is also a recipient of several honorary academic awards. In 2008 he was named as one of the UK’s top seven social entrepreneurs by the Guardian newspaper and in 2011 he received an OBE for his contribution to social entrepreneurship.
He has worked with many big corporate brands, including: Cisco Systems, Compass Group, Barclays Bank, Marks & Spencer’s and KPMP to name but a few. His strong relationships in the corporate sector illustrate his ability to work to a tailored brief and deliver clear takeaway messages to a specific sector.
Alongside his charity work, Gordon’s passion is to help inject social enterprise and social innovation expertise through the boardroom, through young entrepreneurs and through his speaking by sharing what has worked but equally importantly, his mistakes.
Sharing his story and helping make a social impact, Gordon is an expert speaker and social entrepreneur.