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Big Issue boss Nigel Kershaw gets down to business with School of Management

Posted on 29/01/2010

Nigel Kershaw joins Professor Chris Smith and academics form the School of Management

Nigel Kershaw, chairman of the Big Issue Group and CEO of Big Issue Invest, has a long list of accomplishments to his name, but the new decade brings with it a new title for Nigel who has been made an OBE in the New Years Honours List 2010 for his services to social enterprise.

This week he joined the School of Management at Royal Holloway, University of London, to inspire students and staff with anecdotes and stories, from the concept behind the Big Issue to how social entrepreneurships are changing the lives of so many.

He spoke of his pride at being involved in helping homeless people get their dignity back by giving them the opportunity to earn a living and build a future for themselves. Around 147,000 copies of the Big Issue are sold each year and the street vendors collectively earned £8 million last year through selling the magazine.

The Big Issue Invest, a finance company for social enterprises, was founded in 2005 after Big Issue founder John Bird and Nigel wondered why there weren’t more social enterprises as successful as the Big Issue. Since its launch it has helped a magnitude of businesses including Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Foundation, which trains disadvantaged young people for careers in catering and hospitality. Others include Turning Point, the social care organisation that helps people with drug or alcohol addictions.

“We are proud we have taken social entrepreneurship to a new level. It is now becoming a known way of doing business and every single one of these businesses is transforming people’s lives,” Nigel said.

‘Believing in yourself’ and ‘not having the fear’ is the advice he gave to students. “If you have it in you, you just go out and do it. I think it’s inbred and you just have that passion. For me, I had a passion for change,“ he added.

Professor Chris Smith, Head of the School of Management, said, "We are delighted that such a leading social entrepreneur has taken the time to share his thoughts and experiences with our students and staff. We welcome such engagement with all sectors of business and this talk forms part of a series of events for our students throughout the academic year."

Dr Laura Spence, member of the MSc Entrepreneurship team and course leader for the Responsible Entrepreneurship course, added, "The School and College are working hard to develop our contribution to the dynamic area of social entrepreneurship both academically and with students in practical terms. This combines well with the Centre for Research into Sustainability and Nigel's talk provided a focal point for many of our different activities, offering a reality check on the complexities of dealing with the commercial and social pressures simultaneously. Perhaps more importantly, however, his passion for the work of the Big Issue Group clearly demonstrated the personal rewards of pursuing social goals through enterprising activities."

The School is offering a new MSC in Entrepreneurship, for more information visit http://www.rhul.ac.uk/coursecatalogue/hss/management/mscentrepreneurship.aspx


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