9. Beam

The idea of Beam poses an intriguing question: how many lives could be changed if it was as easy as a tap of a button?

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Social Impact Award Shortlisted

In recognition of those startups which are putting purpose ahead of profit, with evidence of a commitment to making the world a better place with its business model.

Startups 100: Social Impact Awards

Founder: Alex Stephany
Founded: 2017
Website: beam.org

A few years ago, Alex Stephany became friends with a homeless man who would sit outside his local tube station in North London. This man had been out of work for longer than he could remember, and the relationship stirred a moment of inspiration in Stephany.

Beam was launched in 2017 as a result. Its aim? To revolutionise the way that homeless people are supported in the long term.

Beam is an online crowdfunding platform where you can donate directly to a person in need. You can then follow their journey into a career, a stable home, or both, safe in the knowledge that they’ll also be receiving award-winning support.

Beam aims to revolutionise the way that homeless people are supported in the long term.

As the business idea developed, Alex realised he could use the concept to help even more people. He started to think about Beam’s potential to transform how the world supports refugees and prison leavers too, so no one would be left behind.

Beam brings convenience to philanthropy. But, unlike Kickstarter or GoFundMe, Beam won’t present you with potentially frivolous or unqualified requests. You can head straight to the point where you get to seriously and positively impact someone’s life every time you donate.

That ethos appears to be having the intended impact, too. Some 82% of Beam’s beneficiaries have moved into paid employment after their crowdfunding campaigns. To put that in context, this compares to 31% of participants on the DWP’s Work & Health Programme.

To date, Beam has supported 1,000 homeless people into jobs and homes, and raised £3.5 million in crowdfunded donations.

The average starting salary of a Beam candidate is also £24,650, which is also significantly above London living wage. This is an astounding credit to the team at Beam, who are obviously putting in the work not only to help people into work, but into finding quality jobs that they can use to truly build better lives.

To date, Beam has supported 1,000 homeless people into jobs and homes, and raised £3.5 million in crowdfunded donations.

Participants who use Beam will also be happy to know that 100% of donations go directly to beneficiary costs, which just goes to show how committed Alex and his team are to actually achieving their goals of being a positive impact company in the world.

The future looks bright and possible for Beam, who intend to become one of the world’s most positively impactful companies. This year, they partnered with Revolut, becoming the first UK homelessness organisation on Revolut Donations – and brokered partnerships with leading employers including Bupa, Pret and Arriva. They were also named as one of LinkedIn's Top 15 UK startups in 2022. We’re excited to see how the Beam brand grows from here, and how many lives it can positively impact along the way.

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Stephanie Lennox is the resident funding & finance expert at Startups: A successful startup founder in her own right, 2x bestselling author and business strategist, she covers everything from business grants and loans to venture capital and angel investing. With over 11 years of hands-on experience in the startup industry, Stephanie is passionate about how business owners can not only survive but thrive in the face of turbulent financial times and economic crises. With a background in media, publishing, finance and sales psychology, and an education at Oxford University, Stephanie has been featured on all things 'entrepreneur' in such prominent media outlets as The Bookseller, The Guardian, TimeOut, The Southbank Centre and ITV News, as well as several other national publications.

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