Female Entrepreneur of the Year 2011

Michelle Wright - Cause4

Cause4Founder: Michelle Wright Year started: 2009 Website: www.cause4.co.uk

Founded two-and-a-half years ago, Cause4 is helping charities of all creeds, causes and sizes re-evaluate their fundraising strategy, and disrupting the third sector consultancy space with its flexible, cost-effective fee structure. Michelle Wright, who set up the business with fellow fundraiser Nick Gandon, has already achieved spectacular results in her quest to shake up the UK’s non-profit community with a risk-sharing, transparent approach to partnership.

Since its inception in May 2009, Cause4 has helped its clients raise more than £3m, while notching impressive financial results itself. Turnover for the last financial year was £286k more than twice the figure recorded for the previous 12 months and net profit before tax is 22%. Having started out with three clients, Cause4 now boasts more than 30 third sector partners, from world-famous brands such as Camden’s Roundhouse to emerging forces in the voluntary sector, such as England footballer Rio Ferdinand’s Live The Dream foundation.

In addition to her success at the Startups Awards, Wright – who played the violin professionally before turning her attention to fundraising – was honoured in the top-10 in the Ernst and Young Future 100 Awards earlier this year for entrepreneurs running socially responsible businesses. With turnover forecast to double in Year 3, further accolades look certain to follow in 2012.  

Judges’ comments:
 In a world where consultants to the third sector are rarely, if ever, accountable, Cause4 has turned the system on its head by sharing the financial risk with the charities and social enterprises it works on fundraising initiatives with. Its lower charges and transparency help to ensure more of the money raised goes to good causes. Its success is such that clients have raised in excess of £250,000 a month between them. Much of this is down to Michelle Wright’s vision, determination and a truly innovative approach to boosting the third sector.