Jonathan Bland, Managing Director

Jonathan Bland, the founder of SBI, is an international expert on social enterprise, with 30 years experience working in this field. Since 1998 he has been a leader in the UK social enterprise movement, bringing together a diverse range of people and organisations under the umbrella of social enterprise. First as Executive Director of Social Enterprise London and then as CEO of the Social Enterprise Coalition, Jonathan Bland helped the British Government to create a highly innovative policy framework for social enterprise, and supported the development of some major programmes in the field of public service innovation, enterprise and employment. He campaigned successfully to win widespread cross-party political support for this type of business.

Before this Jonathan lived in Spain for five years, where he developed and managed a series of innovative European projects for the Valencian Co-operative movement. Previously he worked with co-operatives in London and in Wales.

Jonathan is a member of GECES, the European Commission’s Expert Group established to oversee the Social Business Initiative.

“Building relationships, making connections and spotting opportunities for creative and productive partnerships is something that really excites us. There is so much more that can be achieved by networking and sharing; there is no need to re-invent the wheel over and over again.”

Jonathan Bland has experience in the following areas:

  • Social enterprise, social entrepreneurship and the social economy
  • Policy development
  • Campaigning
  • High level networking and influencing
  • Developing successful, high profile events
  • Developing learning and training programmes
  • Commissioning and contributing to publications

“Jonathan has shown true leadership in the social enterprise world heading up the Coalition. He made our membership fee worthwhile – connecting us with key policy makers, keeping us up to date with debates, and helping the sector refine its campaigns. Over the years he developed strong relationships with partners and policy makers alike. He has a practitioners understanding of social business and the political astuteness of a lobbyist!”

Fay Selvan, The Big Life Company

“Jonathan knows everyone. He is a seasoned operator, whose tenacity and focus, coupled with clear vision, has transformed the Social Enterprise space in the UK.”

Alastair Wilson, School of Social Entrepreneurs

“I believe that social enterprise is the future for effective public services, but it is really important that we share the knowledge about how this works. If not, public authorities just get stuck in a simplistic model of privatization. Now that Jonathan is operating internationally there is a real opportunity to exchange ideas about new ways of running public services in Europe and beyond.“

Mark Sesnan, GLL (Greenwich Leisure Limited)