SSE celebrates 10 years of partnership with Linklaters

6 Oct 2017

Time for some real talk. Social change doesn’t just magically happen of its own accord.

I know, I know. We all want everyone to have the same awakening we’ve had, and become doyennes of doing good.

But sadly, social and environmental problems aren’t much in the habit of fixing themselves.

It takes individual people to do something to tackle them.

These are the kind of people we support at the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE). We empower the leaders of social change with learning, connections, grants and other types of support – more than 1,000 of them a year, as it happens, across our global network of 11 schools.

But here’s the thing. We can’t do all that by ourselves.

We need support too.

That’s where our fantastic corporate partners come in.

When we say “fantastic”, we really do mean it. These guys make it possible for SSE to support the people we do. And in more ways than you might think.

This year, for example, we’re celebrating the 10th anniversary of our partnership with Linklaters. (A whole decade! That’s half SSE’s entire lifetime as an organisation.)

Linklaters are one of the UK’s leading law firms, falling within a group may have heard called the “Magic Circle”. (Sounds special, doesn’t it!)

Yet in among the cornucopia of contracts and conditions they have to handle all day every day to retain that high-flying spot, they find time and money to support SSE and our students.


“We are delighted to have supported dozens of inspiring, impactful social entrepreneurs through our decade-long partnership with the School for Social Entrepreneurs. The learning is two-way. Our employees use their expertise to help social entrepreneurs overcome business challenges. The Linklaters team, in turn, gain a deeper understanding of the social sector, and develop insights into how businesses can benefit society and the environment.”

Matt Sparkes, head of corporate responsibility, Linklaters


As one of our corporate supporters, Linklaters have enabled a whopping 200 social entrepreneurs to create real impact through our flagship SSE London Fellowship Programme.

Linklaters have directly empowered some 40 social entrepreneurs. Linklaters’ legal-eagles and business experts mentor and coach our students, and they often provide pro bono (i.e. free) legal advice to them too.

Check out this video about how Linklaters works with SSE and our students:

What does this all mean, in practice?

Well, each of the students Linklaters has directly supports is out transforming the lives of people in need, or improving the fate of communities or the environment. Our students are impacting urgent issues, such as poverty, health, education and the environment.

When one of our corporate supporters gives funding and time to helping a social entrepreneur succeed, the entrepreneur transforms that resource into building an organisation that might help thousands of people in need over its lifetime.

It’s what we like to call “the SSE effect”. This animation explains it in 70 seconds.

One of the best things about working with social entrepreneurs, we think, is that they want to earn their own income, so that they can ensure they can survive long-term to create impact.

That’s why we are especially pleased as punch to have the long-lasting support of a flagship business like Linklaters. Their deep understanding of what commercial success takes is invaluable in helping our students to develop more sustainable organisations, so they can create impact in the long-term.

With our students and our corporate supporters, we’re creating social change, together.


“In the year that the School for Social Entrepreneurs turns 20, we are thrilled to make 2017 a double celebration with the 10th anniversary of our partnership with Linklaters. Linklaters’ ongoing support has enabled us to support dozens of social entrepreneurs, often working in the poorest communities and most difficult markets, to impact the most urgent challenges society faces. It’s been a pleasure to work with the team at Linklaters, and I look forward to strengthening our partnership. Now let’s crack open the bubbly!”

Alastair Wilson, chief executive officer, School for Social Entrepreneurs