Announcement: NEF Joins Forces with CfE

NEF CfE Logo


NEF and CFE have joined forces! Here’s some more information about what we aim to achieve… 

On November 15th 2017, NEF announced that it was joining forces with the entrepreneurship think tank The Centre for Entrepreneurs to create a combined not-for-profit ‘entrepreneurship powerhouse’ in the UK.

Why did we decide to join forces?

The UK has seen a huge number of entrepreneurial support initiatives launched in recent years, which reflects the vibrancy and attractiveness of the UK’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. We feel that this is a good time to have a national organisation that can advocate the needs of different segments of the country’s entrepreneurs and tackle some of the challenges holding back the wider take up of entrepreneurship in the UK.

By coming together, NEF and CFE form a unified entrepreneurship foundation for the UK that will train the next generation of the UK’s entrepreneurial leaders to realise their potential, develop skills, start and scale businesses to create jobs and prosperity; deliver original research to identify gaps in current provision; bring together organisations to devise programmes to address these gaps, and input into UK entrepreneurship policy.

How has this been achieved?

We have achieved this partnership by transferring CFE’s think tank assets, programmes and staff into the New Entrepreneurs Foundation. NEF and CFE will continue to operate their respective activities under their existing brands. The name of the charity will remain the New Entrepreneurs Foundation, with the added subtitle ‘Home of the Centre for Entrepreneurs’

This collaboration has been made possible by an agreement of significant, 3-year funding from LetterOne, the international investment business co-founded by entrepreneur Mikhail Fridman. LetterOne is chaired by Lord Davies of Abersoch.

How will the organisation benefit potential entrepreneurs?

The combined organisation represents the interests of aspiring entrepreneurs by combining think tank capabilities with on-the-ground entrepreneurship training programmes, events and other activities.

Is this a first for the UK?

Yes, this is the first in the UK. We have drawn inspiration from the successful US organisation, the Kauffman Foundation, which plays a significant role with entrepreneurs in the USA and around the world. Its strength comes from its huge capacity to undertake entrepreneur-support programmes, policy campaigns and research in order to create opportunities to help entrepreneurs to be successful. We want to establish a similar platform here in the UK.

Why do we think that such a move is necessary?

Britain has seen great success in building a community of highly entrepreneurial business founders in the past decade. Post-Brexit, the UK will need to keep up the momentum of creating and scaling new businesses which are going to be the net job creators of the future. We will also have to make a concerted effort to provide the entrepreneurs of the future with the right skills and tools to succeed, and do so in an inclusive way.

We feel that now is the right time for our two organisations to join forces and start to address some of these issues – whether that is developing entrepreneurial skills in individuals or making research-led and informed interventions in underserved sectors.

Recent research reports suggest that 70% of the UK population still don’t know where to find business support and there is a persistent gap between those wishing to become entrepreneurs and those actually starting businesses. By bringing the strengths of our two organisations together, we will have the scale to tackle some of these long-term challenges that are holding back entrepreneurship in Britain.

How will the combined organisation be governed?

The charity is governed by a formal board of trustees led by its chairman Oliver Pawle. The current board will remain in place and two new board members are being selected.

The combined organisation will be led by NEF’s current CEO Neeta Patel and Matt Smith, Director of the Centre for Entrepreneurs will report to Neeta.

We are also planning to appoint a non-governing advisory/development board to assist with strategic and development activities. Luke Johnson, previous Chairman of CFE will join the advisory board of the combined organisation. Robert Kelsey, a previous Director of CFE will chair the Research Council.

The combined organisation has 9 full time staff and a number of part time and project staff. The team will co-locate to a new office in Shoreditch in December 2017.