July 2, 2022

SME Business News

Small Business News UK

Barclays and Unreasonable’s Impact Squared initiative supercharges entrepreneurs driving positive social change for millions of people around the world

Initiative receives honorable mention in Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas Awards

Tapping into the power of the Unreasonable community, project teams were formed across regions and industries to meet the unprecedented challenges posed by the pandemic – and the results are changing lives all over the world

London/New York, 22 June 2022: Today’s biggest sustainability challenges cannot be solved alone. Barclays and Unreasonable launched the Impact Squared initiative to encourage entrepreneurs to identify and then implement new partnerships within the Unreasonable community and collaborate on solutions to address system issues exacerbated by COVID-19.

In total eight collaborations were identified across a broad range of ventures. These project teams are working on initiatives as diverse as fostering inclusive workforces, enhancing healthcare access, and addressing climate change. Grants were provided to support their work and so far their services have impacted lives in 54 countries including the U.K., U.S. and India – creating jobs and providing vital improvements in areas such as healthcare, solar power and recyclables. Each grant provided by Impact Squared has allowed companies to overcome the continued fallout from COVID on their businesses and make a significant and positive impact on millions of people all over the world.

The power of the Unreasonable community first shined in the Unreasonable Impact COVID-19 Initiative launched at the start of the pandemic in 2020 – where over 20 grants were given to companies within the Unreasonable community to support their efforts in addressing the pandemic. These companies were using their businesses to rescue millions of pounds of food, distribute hundreds of thousands of units of PPE, and manufacture millions of virus test kits.

Inspired by the entrepreneurs’ individual innovations, the Impact Squared initiative wanted to take it further and catalyse greater impact by tapping into the power of the Unreasonable community that includes over 300 companies.

Projects have been delivered at the heart of communities and include:

The India Rural Access Coalition: improving healthcare

Frontier Markets Consulting, Vitargent and EduBridge formed a coalition to build healthcare resilience in rural communities, distributing COVID prevention products and boosting the vaccination effort. So far it has been able to reach 4,234 households, training 17 master trainers and 132 rural entrepreneurs. More than 32,375 people have benefited from its awareness outreach program.

“The Unreasonable grant has helped accelerate the efforts of the coalition. Due to the grant, the field workers and entrepreneurs are able to get enhanced training with EduBridge. It has helped us to go wide and deep in our community outreach, strengthening our community relations and creating a long-standing impact,” said Ajaita Shah, Founder & CEO, Frontier Markets

Biolite Energy and Angaza: bringing energy to Africa

This initiative aims to bring clean, solar energy to 120,000 people across sub-Saharan Africa and has already delivered 2,200 solar home systems in the Democratic Republic of Congo, helping more than 12,000 people gain access to energy.

“This grant has allowed our partnership to scale beyond our core products (hardware and PAYG software) into products that will help accelerate the scaling pace of our distributors and therefore the scale of impact of our collective work. We anticipate we can help more than 50,000 people gain first access to energy over the next two to three years,” said Jonathan Cedar, Founder & CEO BioLite

Unreasonable Mom CEO Campaign: helping working mothers reach their potential

Three “mom led” companies – Kuli Kuli Inc, Sylvatex, and Uncommon Cacao – collaborated on a campaign to help working mothers reach their potential and urge employers to adopt more family-friendly policies. Founders Lisa Curtis, Emily Stone and Virginia Irwin Klausmeier worked with researchers from four universities to survey over 1,000 working mothers and found that one in four had no time for self-care practices such as walking or exercise – and half survived on less than six hours’ sleep.

“The grant has enabled us to gain valuable campaign and media experience, as well as connect us to a broader network of mom-owned businesses. We’ve already formed partnerships with parenting groups and 29 female-founded brands who are donating prizes for the SuperMoms,” said Lisa Curtis, Founder and CEO, Kuli Kuli.

Daniel Epstein, Founder and CEO, Unreasonable Group: “We at Unreasonable have always focussed on collaborative advantage rather than competitive advantage because we know that results are magnified by working together.

The results of our Impact Squared initiative illustrate that idea so beautifully. I’m so proud of the way the companies have used their collective power to change lives around the world. And we are delighted the initiative has been recognised by Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas Awards in the Pandemic Response Category.”

Paul Compton, Global Head of the Corporate and Investment Bank and President of Barclays Bank PLC: “Impact Squared is truly unique. It’s enabling pioneering entrepreneurs from across the globe to focus their talent, collaborate and share ideas with each other, and respond faster to address the ongoing impacts of the pandemic. We know that the collective potential of these ventures has the power to change the world.”