45. Beam

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Founders: Alex Stephany, Seb Barker
Founded: 2017
Website: www.beam.org

Appearing for the first time in the Startups 100, Beam is a London-based social enterprise that supports homeless people by finding them stable work and accommodation.

Founded in 2017 by Alex Stephany and Seb Barker, Beam is an online crowdfunding platform, which allows the public to fund training and professional qualifications for homeless people. Each Beam user is paired with a dedicated case worker, who creates a bespoke employment plan for them and supports them through training and into stable, paid work.

Recent figures show that there are 320,000 homeless people in the UK, a rise of 60% since 2011. Most are living in hostels or emergency accommodation and face various barriers that stop them from entering stable, well-paid work. It’s a devastating cycle that is truly hard to break. And even harder to break for good.

So, Beam thinks long-term. It tailors a homeless person’s career plan to their specific goals and aspirations, rather than just getting them into any old job.

The results so far are impressive: 80% of Beam users have found work, and the average salary is £28,000, which is well above the London Living Wage. Beam has plenty of success stories, with one particular story making the national press: Javad, a refugee from Iran who fled religious persecution arrived in the UK in the back of a lorry, unable to speak English. When he got his leave to remain, Beam helped him train as a digger operator. He's now earning £30k a year.

With operations currently based around central London, the team at Beam wants to grow. If they can expand outside of the capital, then it’s sure to be a great thing. Social enterprise has rarely been so accessible, and so needed.

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