LetterOne commits £1million over two years to support the Centre for Entrepreneurs

Funding supports new research efforts and fosters new generation of founders

LetterOne, the long-term investment group, is committing £1million over two years to support the Centre for Entrepreneurs, the UK’s leading entrepreneurship foundation which aims to make Britain more entrepreneurial. The funding will support two important strands of work: reinvigorating CFE’s policy and research work with two significant projects; and fostering the next generation of entrepreneurial talent – a move crucial to the nation’s long-term recovery and growth.

LetterOne views an entrepreneurial mindset as integral to the success of the companies of the future. By identifying and supporting future-focused entrepreneurs, LetterOne seeks to build the next generation of founders. 

LetterOne’s support of CFE started in 2017 and will continue to help reinvigorate their policy research, starting with a significant piece mapping the enterprise support organisations in the UK to build a comprehensive picture of the incubators and accelerators in operation. This will help entrepreneurs to find suitable support and enable policymakers to better understand trends and gaps in business support. Significant interest from the entrepreneur ecosystem has already been generated and representatives from BEIS, DCMS, the Scale Up Institute, the British Business Bank, the UK Science Park Association, and Capital Enterprise, among others will join an advisory board to inform the research and create actionable insights. This research is led by Nesta’s former Head of New Technology & Startup Research, Dr Chris Hayley.

The second piece of research planned for 2023 will create the UK’s inaugural annual ‘State of entrepreneurship’ study taking inspiration from the US-based Kauffman Foundation. This will be the first research of this nature conducted in the UK. 

LetterOne’s funding will also continue to support the NEF+ flagship programme for first-time founders and emerging leaders in scaleups. This programme was the first of its kind when it launched in 2011 and to-date has supported 350 people who have gone on to found 200+ successful businesses, £220 million raised in investment and 5000 jobs created. The collective valuation of these businesses is £630million.

The programme will foster talent by supporting two cohorts of up to 50 candidates per year, with funding scholarship support for those from non-traditional backgrounds.

Joshua Hardie, Director of Corporate Affairs at LetterOne, added: “Our vision is to support businesses to think long-term to help society build a bridge to the future as the world transitions. The future is full of challenges, but I see through our support of the Centre for Entrepreneurs, how much an entrepreneurial mindset can drive ingenuity and innovation.”

Neeta Patel, CEO at the Centre for Entrepreneurs, commented: “Our NEF+ programme is second to none in the entrepreneurial skills space, and this additional funding from LetterOne will enable us to continue to deliver two cohorts each year as well as look at scaling the programme regionally. Our exciting programme of research is much needed by the UK government and the ecosystem players who have actively come forward to participate and support the research. I am sure that in the years to come, these reports will become the ‘go to’ reports both to inform government policy as well as provide valuable information to practitioners.”

Chris Butcher, founding engineer at CharlieHR who graduated from NEF+ in 2016, commented: “NEF+ changes lives. During my NEF+ year, I started a company, worked for a company, worked for another, shut down a company, built another one, discovered co-founders, met influencers, found friends, uncovered hidden talents and pushed myself further in one year than I could have imagined. NEF+ teaches you things, but more importantly it gives you a platform to raise yourself onto a higher level of thinking and doing.  It is humbling to have been granted so much help, support, tuition, coaching and opportunity for nothing but the pursuit of building a great generation of business leaders. I can now do my best at becoming one of them.”


Notes to editors


About LetterOne 

Founded in 2013, LetterOne is a partnership of successful entrepreneurs, CEOs and international businesspeople passionate about building better businesses, bringing and entrepreneurial mindset, long-term vision and active investment to drive sustainable value in sectors that are vital to future prosperity: energy, technology, health and retail. 

With more than £20bn of patient capital, LetterOne has a long-term approach, in-depth expertise and commitment to good governance, helping us to build companies of the future, supporting more than 125,000 jobs in sectors that create lasting value for investors and society. 



About Centre for Entrepreneurs and NEF+

The Centre for Entrepreneurs (CFE) is a leading charitable entrepreneurship foundation in the UK. CFE was formed from a merger, in 2017, of a think tank by the same name and The New Entrepreneurs Foundation (NEF), a start-up skills development programme for young, first-time founders. 

The NEF+ programme is well established in the UK and delivers a unique skills programme comprising a work placement, a formal interactive learning programme, coaching, mentoring and access to networks. Since it launched in 2011, 350 candidates have completed the programme, 200 new businesses have been created by its alumni who have raised £220m in funding and have created 5000+ new jobs. The collective valuation of these businesses is £630million.

CFE’s research and policy think tank undertakes research and campaigns to promote the role of entrepreneurs in creating economic growth and social well-being. It also runs a community of incubator and accelerator managers in the UK and a global network of organisations working to support refugee entrepreneurs. 


Company no: 07469562

Registered charity no: 1140102

Registered address: Centre for Entrepreneurs, Kemp House, 152-160 City Road, London, EC1V 2NX