84. Imagematch

The award-winning social enterprise that trains, supports and places the long-term unemployed

Founder: Mark Gibson
Founded: March 2010
Website: www.imagematch.co.uk

The 2011 Startups Awards Social Enterprise of the Year provides vocational training alongside personalised guidance to the long-term unemployed, while matching the individual’s interests to employer needs raises the chances of the individual staying in the job. Since launch more than 200 candidates have been placed, with 80% securing ongoing employment, training or qualifications. Founder Mark Gibson, 45, who started life in a foster home in Liverpool, was inspired by seeing and anticipating the likely effect of the economic downturn. Imagematch has already proved successful, breaking £1m in turnover last year.

The company generates funding from a number of contracts, with the likes of the Department of Work & Pensions, (DWP), European Social Fund and Skills Funding Agency, alongside its use of grants and awards aimed at reducing worklessness. Between 75 and 100 businesses are on its roster of employers, and Gibson says expansion through partnership is likely.

Startups 100 by Startups.co.uk