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The Business Class

The Business Class: Imagematch

Episode Three: Imagematch

Meet the Company
In Episode Three we meet Mark Gibson, the founder of Imagematch, a social enterprise that offers vocational training and support to the unemployed and help 'match' their client's profiles to those of potential employers. We explore the challenges faced by social enterprise, asking whether banks understand Mark's business model and how he can better compete for large contracts.

In Episode Three we consider the role of social enterprise in the business environment as we profile Imagematch (imagematch.co.uk) who offer vocational training and support to the unemployed and help 'match' their client's profiles to those of potential employers. The company was named as Start Up's Top Social Enterprise for 2011, and through them we find out the challenges faced by businesses with a social aim.

In this episode we explore the challenges faced by the social enterprise sector as a whole, asking whether banks understand their business model and how they can compete for large contracts. James is joined by Penny Newman, ex-CEO of Jamie Oliver's Fifteen Foundation to talk social enterprise models and by Paul Saunders, ex-Head of Specialist Operations at Lloyds TSB to debate the financial issues.

The Founders

Mark is Director of Imagematch Social Enterprise CIC. Originally from Liverpool and brought up in care/foster homes, Mark studied Electrical and Electronic Engineering before moving into sales, working for Sony UK as the Account Director for Sony's largest business account, PC World (DSGi Business) and other prestigious accounts such as Specialist Computer Centres (SCC), Computacenter and Dabs (now part of BT), as well as many SME accounts across the UK.

Mark is also involved with a specialist Disability Social Enterprise - Wavelength, and sits on the panel of a fostering agency.

Imagematch - Vital Statistics

USP:
Imagematch Social Enterprise CIC provides vocational training alongside personalised guidance to the long-term unemployed, while matching the individual's interests to employer needs, raising the chances of the individual staying in the job. So far 80% of their candidates have remained in work, education or training after their involvement.

Company Name: Imagematch

Turnover: £1.1M (projected with 2011)

Headquarters: Shrewsbury

Founded: 2010

Employees: 7

James' Checklist For Businesses £500k- £2.5M Turnover

  • How effective is the business' interview process? Can it be improved?
  • Does the company have an effective customer relationship management system in place in order to prove their growth/contracts to a bank looking to lend?
  • Is the strategy for growth achievable, and does the company have the expertise to access new markets? If not, should they hire someone with this expertise?
  • How can the entrepreneur identify the right staff to hire? Are they scared of delegating?
  • Is the business plan concise and effective?


Full Episode

The Business Class Episode Three Full Show
In Episode Three James is joined by Penny Newman, CEO, Platform 51 (formerly YWCA) and by Paul Saunders, ex-Head of Specialist Operations at Lloyds TSB to explore the challenges faced by social enterprise ImageMatch. Find out how its proposition will endure under discussion. Plus discover what founder Mark Gibson's reaction will be when asked to consider changing ImageMatch's name and adapting his business strategy to gain interest from the private sector?

Episode Highlights

The Business Class Episode Three Highlights
A quick look at one of the challenges Imagematch's Mark Gibson brought to our panel of experts and their feedback on how to grow his social enterprise.

Company Response

CEO Response
Imagematch founder, Mark Gibson, discusses the lessons he learned from his experience on The Business Class and how he will utilize the panel's feedback in steering his recruitment business forward.
  • Caan is one of the U.K.'s most successful and dynamic entrepreneurs as well as the guest presenter of "The Business Class."

The Business Class Extras