Run a charity? Launching a social enterprise? Pret and Mumsnet founders amongst those you can ‘rent’

The Human Lending Library®, which matches charity and social enterprise leaders with successful entrepreneurs as mentors, has opened in Manchester. 

Launched by the charity Expert Impact, the quirky initiative has seen over 200 leaders of social enterprises and charities ‘borrow’ an expert for advice on improving their organisations and increasing their social impact. 

Expert mentors include the founders of Pret-a-Manger (Julian Metcalfe), The White Company (Chrissie Rucker), Carphone Warehouse (Sir Charles Dunstone) and Mumsnet (Carrie Longton).

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Expert mentors include the founder of Pret-a-Manger Zhangyang

Social enterprises that have used the Library include Change Please, a coffee company that trains and employs homeless people as baristas; Harry Specters, a company staffed by people with autism; and OLIO, an app connecting neighbours to combat food waste.

Until now the initiative has solely operated out of the British Library in Kings Cross, London. The Manchester branch, which is supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, will be the first of several new branches to be announced over the next 12 months.

Kendra Walsh, director of Expert Impact, said: “After proving the model works in London, we are delighted we can expand the reach of the Human Lending Library by making it more accessible to organisations creating positive social and environmental impact in the north of the UK.” 

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Enterprises that have used Human Lending Library include Change Please Change Please

The Manchester branch of the Human Lending Library will be run from the Business and Intellectual Property Centre (BIPC) at Manchester Central Library. 

As well as offering access to industry-standard information resources, BIPC Manchester delivers talks, workshops, demonstrations and networking opportunities - plus one-to-one advice at patent and IP, accountancy, and commercial legal clinics.

Arts Council England’s recent Democratising Entrepreneurship report revealed that, from 2016-2019, BIPC Manchester helped to create nearly 2000 new businesses; generating a payback of £6.95 for every £1 of public money spent.

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Human Lending Library will be run from BIPC at Manchester Central Library

Founder or CEO of a social enterprises or charity, and want to discuss your ideas? You can apply to ‘borrow’ one of the 40 expert mentors available here (this takes around 10 minutes). Expert Impact will then suggest a match and arrange a date and time for the two of you to meet - a process which can take two months. 

Sessions last one hour, and everyone who uses the Human Lending Library will become a member of its Alumni Network. The service is free but only available to eligible applicants.

Find out more about Human Lending Library here