Our Venture Board

Ashoka UK's Venture Board brings together some of the leading experts in the field of social entrepreneurship.  

Venture, Ashoka’s search and selection process for new Fellows, relies on nominations from the public as well as our trusted partners.  The aim of the Venture Board is to discuss leading innovations and share best practice for building the field of social entrepreneurship in the UK.   Members include:


Julie Devonshire

Director of Ventures - UnLtd

Julie is the Director of Ventures at UnLtd, responsible for finding, supporting and growing exceptional social ventures in the UK. Before joining UnLtd she worked for Oxfam Trading, where she undertook an 18 month project with Oxfam to significantly increase the amount of profits made by its 700+ UK stores and wider trading function. Prior to this, Julie spent five years as COO of One and then CEO of The One Foundation. She has also been Director of Finance and Company Secretary for Investors In People UK, working with government on national skills policies.


Claire Burton

Head of Corporate Responsibility - Deloitte

Claire is Head of Corporate Responsibility at Deloitte, leading the firm’s major community and volunteering initiatives including their Skills and Education programmes with Teach First, their charitable relationships and their support to social enterprise through the Deloitte Social Innovation Pioneers programme. Claire was a former public sector consultant and is a keen runner.’



Derek Bardowell

Grants Manager - The Esmee Fairbairn Foundation

Since 2009, Derek has served as Grants Manager at the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, which is one of the largest independent grant-making foundations in England. Before joining the Foundation, Derek was Director of Education (2006-2009) at the Stephen Lawrence Trust and prior to that he was a print and broadcast journalist.



Julia Grant

Portfolio Director - Impetus Trust

Julia joined the Impetus Trust, the UK's leading venture philanthropy charity, in 2011, as its Portfolio Director, bringing with her over ten years’ experience of working as Chief Executive for large social organisations, such as The National Gardens Scheme and the Surrey Community Action. Prior to this, Julia also worked in the management consultancy and business development sector for 15 years. 



Nick Temple

Director of Business - Social Enterprise UK

Nick has served, since 2011, as Director of Business at Social Enterprise UK. Previously, Nick was the Director of Policy and Communications at the School for Social Entrepreneurs, and he used to work as an independent consultant with a variety of organisations, including UnLtd, the Guardian, Venture Partnership Foundation, British Council and the London School of Economics.



Simon Evill

Social Business Manager - ClearlySo

Since 2008, Simon has served as Social Business Manager at ClearlySo, which works with promising social entrepreneurs to help them structure their investment proposition and translate their opportunity to impact investors. Prior to this, Simon worked as Business Development Manager at the International Knowledge Measurement. 



Sonal Shenai

Executive Director - The Funding Network

In 2008, Sonal became the first Executive Director of The Funding Network, a small charity which is the UK’s first open giving circle and has raised well over £4 million for over 590 diverse local, national and international projects from 4,000 people donating tens, hundreds and thousands of pounds.  Previously, Sonal ran corporate planning at HarperCollins, and worked in business development at Random House Publishing Group.  She has an MBA from INSEAD and her voluntary roles have included being a school governor at Moselle School and mentoring through the charity Friendship Works. 


Suzanne Biegel

CEO - Catalyst at Large Consulting

Since 2005, Suzanne has served as CEO of her own consulting company, called Catalyst at Large Consulting, giving advice to early stage ventures and non-profits in the areas of sustainable business and social innovation. Additionally, Suzanne also serves as Senior Advisor at ClearlySo, and is a former CEO of Investors’ Circle. 



Vik Anderson

Director – Mix-Fits

Vik is the Director of Mix-Fits a non profit backing social intrapreneurs at ideas stage and the organisations around them to see these ideas flourish. She is also a board member of VSOUK, Social Venture Committee Member of Venture Partnership Foundation and a mentor for CharityWorks and an Angel for Make a Wave. Previously, she has worked at UnLtd, Charities Aid Foundation and Big Lottery.


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