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Helping social business to thrive

Change Please is one of more than 200 social entrepreneurs that Linklaters has supported during its twelve-year partnership with the School for Social Entrepreneurs. Change Please trains members of the local homeless community to become baristas and supports them with housing, bank accounts and mental wellbeing.

Utilising our skills and expertise to empower individuals and organisations is at the core of our social impact work. For many of our people, this means using market-leading commercial experience to foster and develop businesses driven by a social purpose. Here are a few examples.

Refugees leading tech start-ups 

In Amsterdam, volunteers are supporting refugees building businesses in the Netherlands and across Europe. Partner Pieter Riemer sits on the firm’s global Corporate Responsibility Committee and leads this work. "For a long time now, the position of refugees in Europe has been so delicate and we wanted to show another side of the story," Pieter explains. "One where people don't have to feel sorry for refugees but can instead be impressed by the energy and the potential that they are bringing to their new homes."

To reach those who need support, the office has partnered with two forward-thinking NGOs. Last year the firm helped R-Ventures Foundation run a forum on how expertise from corporates and innovative technology can help refugees to overcome barriers in business. We also support Refugees Forward, which connects entrepreneurs like Shadi Alhakimi and Martijn Stegenga, co-founders of healthcare innovation platform Elanza, to crucial seed funding and to volunteers with the skills and knowledge to help them tackle problems and grow their reach.

For Pieter, these are the programmes where our people can have great and immediate impact. “Our financial contribution to this is marginal in its effect, I would say. What we can offer that is truly valuable is our advice, our experience and the opening-up of our network to people to show them how to go about creating a successful business."

"What we can offer that is truly valuable is our advice, our experience and the opening up of our network”

- Pieter Riemer, Linklaters Partner

Leading social entrepreneurs

In London, Linklaters has a longstanding partnership with the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) enabling over 200 leaders in social business to create real impact through sponsorship of SSE’s flagship Fellowship Programme.

The holistic relationship has now spanned over a decade, with the firm working closely with SSE to direct resources to the programmes where they will have the greatest effect. From our commercial teams offering free legal advice to fledgling social businesses, to people from across the firm acting as mentors for the Haringey Future Communities Programme, the value our people can add is clear.

Hear from the founders of innovative social enterprises such as pop up language cafe Speak Street and mobile coffee brand Change Please, as they explain how the SSE Linklaters partnership has helped their businesses to thrive.

"Their deep understanding of what commercial success takes is invaluable in helping our students to develop more sustainable organisations, so they can create impact in the long-term"

- Alastair Wilson, CEO School for Social Entrepreneurs

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