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  • Greggs’ commitment to making a difference to the lives of disadvantaged people to be recognised at national awards Open or Close

    Greggs has been named as a finalist for the ERSA Employability Awards 2014 in the Large Employer of the Year Award category, following a nomination by Imagematch - a Social Enterprise which is part of Serco’s Work Programme delivery network.

    Gareth Matthews, Serco’s Business Director for the Welfare Services business, said:

    “Serco and Imagematch have joined forces with HMP Dovegate and Employ with Conviction (a Shropshire-based employer network) to engage with employers to support prison leavers and other long-term unemployed people on the Work Programme”.

    He went on to say “I am delighted that this partnership is coming to fruition and that - with Imagematch’s support - Greggs is being recognised through ERSA’s awards as a brilliant example of the far-reaching and sustainable impact employers can have on society.”

    Greggs has so far made a practical contribution to over 300 disadvantaged people, improving their employability and quality of life through customised initiatives developed in conjunction with prisons, probation trusts, Jobcentre Plus and Work Programme providers. The initiatives include assessment and interview experience for offenders and ex-offenders, work experience placements and paid employment for long-term unemployed people on the Work Programme as well as for young people in particular.

    Beckie Rowland, Recruitment Advisor for Community Placements at Greggs commented:

    “Greggs are delighted to have reached the finals for an ERSA employability award. Our collaboration with Imagematch and Secro enables us to work closely with disadvantaged groups within the community, offering secure and sustainable employment.”

    James Evans, Head of Operations at Imagematch added:

    “It is brilliant that Greggs have committed so much time and effort to supporting disadvantaged people back into work and have created real jobs for individuals who have struggled to find employment. Imagematch are keen to continue working with Greggs in the future to find more people opportunities.”

    The ERSA Employability Awards aim to celebrate and champion best practice from across the employment related services sector, highlighting the day-to-day hard work and dedication of individuals and organisations in the industry, who are supporting jobseekers to find employment and often making a genuine difference in people’s lives.

    The Large Employer of the Year Award recognises a large employer who has demonstrated exceptional commitment in creating opportunities for disadvantaged and long-term unemployed people.

    The award winner will be announced at a special ceremony in London, on June 2 attended by over 200 people, including all the finalists. The ceremony will be addressed by the Minster for Employment, Esther McVey.

    Kirsty Mchugh, ERSA Chief Executive, said:

    “With 180 strong entries to the ERSA awards this year, our judges faced the huge challenge of selecting the winning finalists from such a high calibre of nominees. We are delighted to congratulate all the finalists and look forward to a much deserved celebration at our awards night.”

  • Jupiter House Powtoon Open or Close

  • Riverside Shopping Centre Open or Close


  • Accelerate250 Open or Close

    After being named in the Accelerate250, Imagematch are delighted to feature in the “Highlights” promo, which is being circulated via the various social media platforms. Please click on the link to see more. Accelerate Highlights 2013




    22 May 2013: Mark Gibson of Imagematch has been invited to join the ACCELERATE 250, a new business community championed by Sir Terry Leahy and Lord Young and made up of the fastest growing companies in the UK.


    Multi award winning UK Social Enterprise of the year Imagematch is an innovative training company working with long term unemployed people and ex-offenders to support them in the transition to permanent employment and further education.


    The ACCELERATE 250 will be meeting for the first time at ACCELERATE 2013, Britain’s first flagship festival dedicated to high-potential businesses that is set to be held in Liverpool on June 27.


    The festival aims to raise the profile of the UK’s fastest growing businesses and their impact on the British economy, with the ACCELERATE 250 seen as key to mobilising wider support for entrepreneurs and start-ups.


    Lord Young and Sir Terry Leahy have identified representatives from the UK’s fastest growing small and medium businesses, the “vital six per cent” of companies that are creating more than half of the nation’s new jobs, calling on them to work together in identifying solutions to mutual obstacles.


    The group will be working closely with one another to address the key issues and shared challenges that face all growing businesses, meeting for a series of interactive discussions and debates.


    Members of the ACCELERATE 250 come from across the UK and represent industries from food and fashion, to pharmaceuticals and finance.


    ACCELERATE 2013 will see more than 1,000 delegates descend on Liverpool for a festival like no other, with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, co-founder Martha Lane Fox, former All Black captain Sean Fitzpatrick and Tech City UK CEO Joanna Shields among the confirmed speakers.


    Sir Terry Leahy,           former Tesco CEO, said: “It’s our belief that Britain’s prosperity in the 21st century global economy is going to be built on the success of high-potential, fast-growth businesses.


    “That is why, this coming June, we will be assembling a new group of Britain’s brightest and best businesses to put them at the heart of Britain’s economic renaissance.


    “It is our ambition that the 27 June will be just the start of the journey that sees the ACCELERATE 250 become the nucleus of Britain’s future high-growth economic success.”


    Mark Gibson of Imagematch said  “We are delirious that Imagematch has been identified as one of the UK’s most high-potential small businesses – we can’t wait to join up with the other ACCELERATE 250 members in Liverpool for what promises to be the start of a fantastic partnership.


    “The programme has been designed to help small businesses grow successfully – it’s not every day you get the chance to receive business coaching from the likes of former All Black captain Sean Fitzpatrick and Martha Lane Fox.


    “Having our hard work recognised by the likes of Sir Terry Leahy and Lord Young is a huge achievement for us. More than anything, however, we’re excited by the prospect of joining up with the very best that Britain’s businesses have to offer.”]


    Max Steinberg, Chief Executive of Liverpool Vision, said: “ACCELERATE 2013 will be a fantastic opportunity to showcase that the business world works best when it works together, with the ACCELERATE 250 embodying this collaborative spirit and we look forward to welcoming them to Liverpool.


    “Members will have the opportunity to share their thoughts on how to make the successful transition from start-up to high-growth business.”

  • Imagematch on small screen Open or Close



    Shropshire Based Imagematch features in NEW SMALL BUSINESS SERIES ON CNBC

    CNBC, First in Business Worldwide, has announced that James Caan is to host a new series on CNBC, designed to help small and medium sized businesses grow and prosper.

    One of the six UK businesses to feature is Shrewsbury based multi award winning Social Enterprise – Imagematch. The company was named as Start Up’s Top Social Enterprise for 2011

    The Business Class is a new seven-part series that will see entrepreneur and investor James Caan, joined by experts from a cross section of industries, looking at the challenges and opportunities faced by  business.  The featured businesses are at different stages in their lifecycle, from start-up to those looking to raise finance, expand internationally and considering flotation or selling their business.

    The Business Class will discuss the key issues facing today’s SMEs, the resources available to them and what is needed to become successful.  Each 30 minute episode will feature an innovative business which is seeking guidance to help it grow in today’s market place.  With James Caan’s impressive track record of creating and managing successful companies, he uses his first-hand experience to discuss the challenges and offer advice with the guest experts, each providing their own candid insight and growth strategy.  The series will be filmed on location and in the studio, where CNBC will track how the CEO’s react to the advice.

    “Lots of people think about becoming an entrepreneur and starting their own business,” says James Caan.  “This series will take a look at real businesses and help them navigate their way to greater success.  I’m delighted to be part of a fresh new series which will not only look at the real issues facing small businesses today, but will give sound and relevant advice for all business – whatever their life stage.”

    The Business Class debuts on 17 October at 10.00pm and will repeat at the weekend at 9.30pm (UK time), with the Imagematch episode being aired 31 October 2012. CNBC can be seen on Sky channel 505, Virgin 613 and Freesat 210.

    John Casey, Vice President, News & Programming, CNBC International said, “Small businesses are the life blood of the economy and key to growth in the UK.  The Business Class will help SMEs chart their way through the challenges of starting and growing a business and provide practical advice to help them achieve success.”

    The third episode features Imagematch, an innovative training company working with unemployed people to support them in the transition to permanent employment.  Since we started in March 2010 we have placed over 200 candidates from Shropshire and Mid Wales in training, with 80% of them securing ongoing employment, further training or qualifications. The company is run by ex-Sony Executive Mark Gibson.

    Companies featured in other episodes will include:


    • Kwickscreen – the manufacturer of portable, retractable, room dividers, based in in Battersea and with a factory in Corby
    • LUX FIX - a members-only online fashion boutique. It offers customers exclusive discounts on current-season collections from the most exciting young and established British designers.
    • Shutl – a branded web service company based in Shoreditch, enabling immediate and convenient delivery of online shopping
    • BrewDog – a craft brewer based in Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire
    • Ovo Energy – a gas and electricity supplier based in Kemble, near Cirencester.


    Visit the series’ dedicated website at or follow the show on Twitter at #CNBCBizClass.

  • Imagematch the new business class? Open or Close

    James Caan - Business Class

    If you've been following us on Twitter you'll know we've been busy with a film crew from NBC. We will be featuring in a series called “Business Class”, fronted by James Caan of Dragon's Den fame. The series focusses on startups, and it's an opportunity for us to tell our own story of the ups and downs of the past two years.


     From starting out in 2010, we have consistently punched above our weight, breaking the £1million turnover barrier last year. Then there are the awards we've won – including Social Enterprise of the Year in the Startup Awards, 'Outstanding Contribution to the Community' in the Shrewsbury Mayoral Awards 2012; and the Social and/or Economic Contribution to the Region Award at the Morgan Awards 2011. We were also one of just a handful of social enterprises to be included in the Startups 100.


    Now we are just one of six companies to be offered the opportunity to share our insight to an executive audience across Europe. In another development, Imagematch founder Mark Gibson has been invited to address the Oxford University Entrepreneurs Society, an honour previously offered to, amongst others, James Dyson and Richard Reed, co-founder of Innocent Smoothies. Mark says:”These people were all startups once, but they stayed true to their vision. That's what we've tried to do – and yet, many people are surprised to find out that we are a startup – and, above all, we are a social enterprise.”


    “While we champion localism and the social enterprise movement, we want to be seen first and foremost as a successful company with added social value. It's great to get recognition from an international broadcaster, but we couldn't have done it without our candidates, the organisations we partner with and the communities we serve. Above all, we think it's because of our 80% success rate in securing employment for our candidates. And that's what helps us keep our feet on the ground.”


    “Business Class” will be shown on CNBC from late October, with the episode featuring Imagematch going out in mid November. CNBC is available on Sky channel 505, Virgin channel 613, Freesat channel 210 and Talktalk TV channel 510.

  • Imagematch listed in the top 100 start-up businesses in the UK Open or Close

    Imagematch has been listed in the top 100 start-up businesses in the UK by Startups UK.

    We're delighted to be placed at number 84, demonstrating our continued success as a Social Enterprise delivering personalised support and guidance to the long term unemployed.

  • Business Summit Open or Close

    Local business leaders prepare to gather for Shropshire Council’s business summit next week, with organisers promising an interactive event to explore embracing new opportunities to grow the Shropshire economy. However, some will be taking the opportunity of the summit to question the council on its procurement policies, saying not enough is being done to ensure local firms and social enterprises benefit from council contracts.


    Local social entrepreneur Mark Gibson says: “This problem has been raised at previous summits, and isn’t going to go away. Two years ago, for example, the council champions the local creative industry it then goes and award a design and print contract to a southern based company. Now we have the council handing over the leisure services and WMS to major multinational PLC’s instead of looking at local joint commissioning vehicles, staff mutuals or setting up local social enterprises to deliver these services.

    Mr Gibson is the director of Imagematch Social Enterprise CIC, a Shrewsbury based provider of training and work placement programmes. He says that while the council’s commissioning policies favour local and added social value, the procurement process often ignores this.


    “Social enterprises like ourselves should be benefiting from the recent passing of the Social Value Bill, which means public bodies have to consider the social benefits of services provided by contractors, and yet we’re seeing very little of this. We feel that social enterprises are being used as ‘bid candy’ – we get our pictures in the bid documents but we miss out when the contracts are actually awarded.”

  • Imagematch Social Enterprise CIC expands into Wrexham Open or Close

    An award winning social enterprise is expanding into the Wrexham area and offering young unemployed people the prospect of work placements that will benefit the local community.


    Imagematch Social Enterprise CIC, based in Shrewsbury, began just over eighteen months ago but has already been named Social Enterprise of the Year and was also a finalist in the Morgan Awards. The company places unemployed people on projects under the government’s Work Programme. The scheme has been controversial but in a recent article Imagematch say this is because some placement providers have lost sight of its original objectives.


    Despite our success, we are not getting enough candidates referred to us from the Shropshire area, and we can only work with the referrals we have. So we’re delighted that across the border in Wales we’re getting a much more enlightened response from the organisations that refer candidates to us. In fact, we’ve been so successful in this that we’re having to place some of them in projects in England!


    While we’re happy to do this, and secure long – term employment for the majority of our candidates, what we’d really like to do is get them working on projects in their own communities. Right now we have a pool of candidates ready for the workplace and are now looking for more Wrexham businesses and charities who could benefit from taking someone on. So if you run or know of a project that could benefit from an extra pair of hands then pleasecontact us.



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