Posted on February 4th 2015 by Laurence Guinness
Tagged: Our Work

Our chief executive, Lisa Gagliani, has been awarded an MBE for her work supporting young people and small business in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours.

Lisa’s activities to support both small businesses and start ups began many years ago when she was marketing manager for party plan innovator Tupperware UK & Ireland in the 1990’s, through to being CEO of both Richmond and Kingston Chamber of Commerce until 2012. During that time she also volunteered as a board director of Kingston First and Young Enterprise whilst also stepping forward to become a school governor at Richard Challoner School, New Malden.

Young Enterprise was the link between business and young people at school. She found that as chair of the local board and as CEO of Kingston Chamber of Commerce, she was uniquely positioned to promote an interest in entrepreneurship in local schools whilst being able to persuade local leaders to give their time, usually an hour a week or so, to steer and motivate a group of teenagers to start real enterprises whilst in the sixth form. She also corralled local businesses to participate in two careers festivals she ran at Chessington School.

In 2012, she left to join Bright Ideas Trust, a small charity started to help young people not in education or training to start their own businesses. She took that from around 30 start ups to over 100 enterprises in twelve months and was invited to pilot her methods using business mentors at an open prison to try to help reduce reoffending rates on release.

Since June 2014, she has been our CEO and we are pleased that her energy and enthusiasm are helping around 50 children’s charities to raise more to alleviate child poverty in London. With our match fund and her careful curating and coaching, we managed to double last year’s total in the Big Give Challenge ( an online fundraising tool) to £1.4M which, it is estimated will help alleviate poverty to 100,000 children aged 4-16 in London.

Laurence Guinness

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