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Jonathan Bland, Managing Director, Social Business International

Jonathan Bland

Jonathan Bland

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 (now Social Enterprise UK), 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.

He has also worked promoting social enterprises in Finland and been expert advisor to the European Commission and helped to develop the European Commission’s Social Business Initiative.

In the 1990s 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.


Baroness Glenys Thornton, Senior Associate, Social Business International

Glenys Thornton

Glenys Thornton

Baroness Thornton is the former CEO of the Young Foundation, a Health Minister in the House of Lords and a former Government Health and Equalities Minister. She has long supported the development of social enterprise.

Baroness Thornton was founding Chair of the Social Enterprise Coalition (UK) and for many years she was a board member of Social Enterprise London and a trustee of two social enterprises (Fifteen, Training for Life), as well as many charities. She supports the work of the Social Economy Alliance.

She is currently the Hon Secretary of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Social Enterprise, which she founded in 2001, and is a life long member of the Co-operative movement.

Prior to joining the Government in 2008, Baroness Thornton ran her own communications consultancy. She has worked with the senior management teams of many social enterprises, voluntary organisations and education institutes, providing support in the areas of communications, marketing and leadership. She is emeritus Governor of the London School of Economics and a Senior Fellow of the Young Foundation.


Kirsten van den Hout, Senior Associate, Social Business International

Kirsten van den Hout

Kirsten van den Hout

Kirsten is an experienced operations manager and freelance transformation consultant. Since 2010 she has worked for a variety of clients supporting the development of social businesses (start-ups, spin-outs and charity trading arms) including the School for Social Entrepreneurs, the Carers Trust, Devon Partnership Trust (NHS), and Lambeth Council. Kirsten is an active member of the Bristol social enterprise network and is a board member of The SOFA Project, a re-use and employment social enterprise.

From 2005 to 2010 Kirsten worked for the Social Enterprise Coalition (now SEUK) on national and European programmes to raise the profile of social enterprise and influence policy development.

As a former knowledge manager at IBM and PwC, Kirsten has extensive experience of designing and managing international knowledge transfer programmes both in the public and private sectors.