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Gordon D'Silva

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.

If you are interested in booking Gordon D'Silva for your live event or require any additional information regarding Gordon D'Silva then please fill in the enquiry form and one of the Speakers Corner booking agents will contact you within 24 hours.

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Gordon D'Silva Biography

Gordon D'Silva has been one of the UK’s leading pioneers of social enterprise and social investment business models over the last 25 years. 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 17,000 young people through training, education, apprenticeships and employment and created over 150 new jobs for local people in their various new business start-ups.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...

Gordon D'Silva has been one of the UK’s leading pioneers of social enterprise and social investment business models over the last 25 years. 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 17,000 young people through training, education, apprenticeships and employment and created over 150 new jobs for local people in their various new business start-ups.

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 more recently, the Brigade.  Hoxton Apprentice remains the only Charity-run social enterprise restaurant 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.

He is also a senior advisor to the Do School based in Germany and New York and the social enterprise business incubator, Impact Hub in Rome, Italy.

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. Business awards include the 2003 Inner City 100 Award to Training for Life (in spite of its charitable status) as one of the fastest growing companies in the country, the 2005 Charity of the Year Award (sponsored by the New Statesmen) and both regional and national Social Enterprise of the Year  Awards(2005, 2006 & 2008) for Hoxton Apprentice, the training restaurant. As an employer, his companies contribution to staff training and development and sustainability issues was also acknowledged by the Mayor of London’s Capital People’s Award and the Green Environment Award (2005 & 2008).

Finally, corporate partnerships with organisations like Cisco Systems, Compass Group, Barclays Bank, Marks & Spencer’s and KPMP have won them several Business in the Community’s awards and in the case of Cisco Systems, won their Global Trainee of the Year.

But the story is far from one of success and growth. By Gordon’s own omission it is also a story of personal failure of what “not to do and how not to scale social innovation.”

Now in semi-retirement (a euphemism for being as disruptive as ever) Gordon’s current passion is to help inject social enterprise and social innovation expertise through the Boardroom and through young entrepreneurs by sharing what has worked but equally importantly, his mistakes.

His latest ventures include Good Business Alliance, a group of experienced innovators that share a commitment to help scale social impact IN business and BEYOND philanthropy; Legacy Casa Residencia, the restoration of an abandoned 16th Century convent in Italy into a corporate and hospitality venue aimed at providing a transformational environment through thought, food and wine, and the launch of a pan-European initiative in September 2015 called Young Entrepreneurs Lab (YEL) Network in the earthquake-devastated and economically ravaged province of L’Aquila in Italy.

Gordon believes that if the greatest challenge to private capital in the 21st Century is the unabated rise of global inequality, then the experience and expertise of the social entrepreneur is likely to become increasingly valuable for companies wishing to find management solutions to perennial societal problems that impede business advantage.

For further information or to book Gordon D'Silva, call us at Speakers Corner on +44 (0)20 7607 7070 or email info@speakerscorner.co.uk

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Latest blog by Gordon D'Silva

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Corporate social responsibility: an unnatural relationship between profit and social purpose?

If the 19th Century was the age of the great philanthropists and the 20th Century was the period of state…

View all blogs

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