Gordon D’Silva OBE
Gordon is one of the UK’s pioneers in the development of social enterprise and equity-based social innovation initiatives. Examples include the trend setting training restaurant, Hoxton Apprentice and the ground breaking social enterprise, Training for Life. For well over 25 years, he has worked with a range of business leaders to help come up with connected solutions to perennial societal problems that impede business interest. He has advised the UK Government and, in 2007, they adopted his proposal for a Social Stock Exchange. More recently he joined the board of a publicly listed social investment company that, since its inception in 2014 has raised approximately £100m from institutional investors. His current focus is to now scale social impact within business and beyond corporate philanthropy.
Gordon draws on his vast knowledge of social enterprise and social innovation experience to coach business leaders and train business leaders of the future still in education. The primary focus is on the need to achieve value-based commercial success by driving business innovation that is also socially and environmentally responsible. Key to his approach is to help realize performance potential of the individual by establishing a balance between professional ambition with personal wellbeing. His coaching style is non-directive but challenging, empathic but focused driven, strongly intuitive but market-based practical.
Gordon’s particular interests are increasingly shaped by the paradox created between an open and connected world working in parallel to an increasingly disconnected and uncertain marketplace. This “new normal” he believes, will require citizens and business leaders to keep pace with the speed of technological change without it destabilizing our intrinsic moral and ethical anchors. The challenge of how we connect private profit with public good, shareholder value with social purpose and sustainable innovation with institutional and individual investment and social investment he believes will be one of the key challenges of our times”.
Training & Qualifications
Gordon has been the recipient of several business, social enterprise, charity and academic awards that includes Ernst Young’s Social Entrepreneur of the Year in 2003 and in 2006 and finalist in Orange Mobile’s Entrepreneur of the Year in 2004. Several Business awards include the Government’s 2003 Inner City 100 Award to Training for Life as one of the fastest growing companies in the country; the New Statesmen Charity of the Year Award in 2005 and Social Enterprise of the Year Awards (2005, 2006 & 2008) for Hoxton Apprentice, the training restaurant. In 2008 he was named as one of the UK’s top seven social entrepreneurs by the Guardian newspaper and in 2011 he was inaugurated with the Order of the British Empire by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth for services to furthering social entrepreneurship. His current pro bono portfolio includes business start-up and youth enterprise incubators, Impact Hub in Rome and the Do School in Germany and in New York. He also supported the launch of the International Summer School for Good Business and Social Innovation in Sardinia, Italy. He has a post graduate degree in Counseling Psychology, an honorary doctorate in Business from the University of West London and appointed Visiting Professor for Social Enterprise at the University of Northampton. Passionately European, he has recently set up a base in Brussels to work on the post Brexit arena of finding 21st Century connected solutions for 21st Century disconnected challenges.
“Gordon is a totally creative thinker who is an inspirational leader too.”
Cherie Blair CBE. QC and Chair at Omnia Strategy
“Gordon is a true social entrepreneur with a remarkable track record of running successful businesses. That success is the best possible demonstration of his skills and vision strategic and tactical, engaging and disciplined.”
Lord Knight, Former Government Minister Department of Education
“Gordon was one of the first people to recognise the importance of social enterprise and has been instrumental in building sustainable organisations that also have the virtue of improving our society. He is an inspirational leader.”
Dr Helena Rubinstein, Head of Behavioural Science at Innovia Technology N