28. Imagematch

The socially conscious training company providing support and positions for the long-term unemployed

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

Winner of the Startups Social Enterprise of the Year 2011 and featured in Startups 100 last year, innovative social venture Imagematch has continued its extraordinary growth in 2012, featuring on James Caan’s ‘Business Class’ series and now boasting a total social impact in excess of £7.6m. Founded in 2010 by Mark Gibson after his own frustration with finding employment during the economic downturn, Shropshire-based Imagematch works with the long-term unemployed and ex-offenders to help them get back on the career ladder by providing training, CV building and work placements at one of its 200-strong portfolio of business clients. The company is a registered Community Interest Company (CIC); the venture operates without loss and invests any surplus revenue into social projects which benefit the community. Building on its success in the West Midlands, Imagematch is in the process of opening a second outlet in Wales. The next 12 months will also see the launch of the Imagematch Academy, which Gibson says will truly focus on training and academic research to further its goal of overcoming barriers to employment for local communities.

Startups 100 by Startups.co.uk