Readying a new generation of progressive philanthropists

A programme of events for ambitious students that showcase business as a force for good and offer insight into the many different careers that positively impact society: from progressive philanthropy and smart social investment to enterprising non-profits.

“The programme helps our students think more imaginatively and entrepreneurially about their careers. Hearing from speakers who are personally successful but who are also committed to the ‘greater good’ demonstrates that work can have a transformative, positive impact on the world” 

Dr Anne Johnson, Exeter University

The Problem

Students access to experienced  social change makers is limited – with little offered to them regarding the potential powerful fusion of business and philanthropy.

Routes to social impact and charitable endeavours are not widely known or understood. With a dominant narrative being focused on supporting progress through running marathons and pouring ice over your head, the many varied and rich ways to create positive impact are sometimes only discovered by happenchance or much later in life.

The Opportunity

To harness the energy of the next generation and engage them in social change. 

We know students are eager to further understand ways they can have personal impact. And we know the world is in great need of their natural curiosity, creativity and positive intent. 

Our entrepreneurial speakers inspire and inform a new generation of progressive-thinking students and help them understand the part they can all play in accelerating social change. 

The Programme

Launched in 2016, the Business Meets Philanthropy talks have inspired hundreds of students to consider the role they can play in helping accelerate social progress. It has kick-started conversations, sparked debated and demonstrated the potential of a pro-social, pro-business approach.

Speakers include former Capita CEO Paul Pindar – now co-founder of Literacy Capital; charity giant Sir Stuart Etherington and social philosopher Roman Krznaric.

“It has been super-inspiring to hear from such an influential person – one who has succeeded in the world of private equity and is now a huge power in the third sector”

Exeter University student


  • Demonstrates the potential of the powerful fusion of smart business and progressive philanthropy
  • Positions universities involved as contemporary organisations that want to help equip their students to drive forward social progress
  • Raises awareness and understanding of the different routes individuals can take in influencing social change and driving forward social progress
  • Offers excellent real-world leadership experience to Society leads
  • Encourages a generation of soon-to-be employees to expect business to ‘do good’ as well as make money – and to be willing to help make this happen
  • Supports the wider journey to a more sustainable world
  • Connects universities with significant business leaders, philanthropists and social change-makers

“It’s incredible to see the vast array of students who are keen to make an impact within the Third Sector, and it’s the Business Meets Philanthropy series which plants that see of thought – creating discussion among students in how they could have a positive impact in society throughout their careers.

Brad Rose, Business & Finance Graduate, Exeter University


We would love to be able to grow the programme and offer more students the opportunity to engage with experienced business men and women, connect with a diverse group of individuals and enhance their career options.

To help quality assure the programme we would seek to develop it in a measured way, with an ambition for:

  • 5 universities in 2020 / 21
  • 20 universities in 2021 / 2022
  • 40+ universities in 2022 / 2023


To grow this enterprise, extending its reach and impact, we are seeking a partner to support core costs. To grow the pilot to 5 universities in 2020 / 21 we need £75k.

This will allow us to put in place an enterprise lead to drive the business forward and build effective relationships with participating universities, alongside developing a clear marketing strategy to support growth.


An enterprise by Utopy