Karen Lynch

CEO, Belu Water

Karen Lynch is the CEO of leading social enterprise Belu Water, transforming the loss-making venture into a highly profitable, multi-award winning consumer brand. At the Belu helm since 2010, she has previously led a more traditional career at EMAP, Barclays, Audi and Pork Farms.

Karen was responsible for negotiating and implementing Belu’s long-term exclusive partnership with WaterAid in 2011, developing ‘Ethical Glass’ and for coordinating supply chain and compositors across the water industry. 

She has overseen an astonishing donation of over £1m to WaterAid, raised through trading with Jamie’s Italian, Sainsbury’s and Café Rouge to name just a few. In the past year alone Karen has led Belu to be the winners in the UK Social Enterprise Awards, RBS SE100 Awards and the SMARTA Breakthrough 50, with personal honouree from the Women in Enterprise Network and Lloyds People Environment and Achievement Awards – Overall Champion.

In addition to Belu she is extremely proud to have mentored other social enterprises such as From Babies with Love and Rubies in the Rubble, and has been a judge for both the Social Enterprise UK Awards and The Big Society ‘Business Impact Challenge’.

Karen has mentored

The Dusty Knuckle

Lovingly made, artisan bread and baked goods. We are a social enterprise offering employment to the young people that need it most.

 

  • The Dusty Knuckle
  • Change Please
  • Settle
  • Hubbub Enterprise
  • Chatterbox
  • NevHouse
  • Project Access
  • Fair Full
  • Glo-Ed
  • Juta Shoes

Karen was frighteningly good and clear. I wish I could have had more time with her!”

Max Tobias, Founder of The Dusty Knuckle

Karen has mentored

Change Please

With the support and power of The Big Issue, we have empowered homeless people with the skills, equipment and speciality beans they need to become fully-fledged baristas.

 

  • The Dusty Knuckle
  • Change Please
  • Settle
  • Hubbub Enterprise
  • Chatterbox
  • NevHouse
  • Project Access
  • Fair Full
  • Glo-Ed
  • Juta Shoes

Imagine encapsulating all of your challenges into a defined list and an expert answering them in an hour, this is exactly what Expert Impact does. I cannot recommend it highly enough.”

Cemal Ezel, founder of Change Please, met with Karen Lynch of Belu Water

Karen has mentored

Settle

Settle supports vulnerable young people moving into their first home. Their mission is to prevent young people from being evicted and becoming homeless by equipping them with the key skills they need to live independently. They do this through support and training.

  • The Dusty Knuckle
  • Change Please
  • Settle
  • Hubbub Enterprise
  • Chatterbox
  • NevHouse
  • Project Access
  • Fair Full
  • Glo-Ed
  • Juta Shoes

It’s hard to find someone who gets what starting up a social enterprise is like. Karen immediately understood the challenges I was grappling with and was able to offer me practical advice on where I need to focus on. She got to the crux of the matter within 20 minutes and I came out of the session with new energy and determination to take my social enterprise to the next level.

Rich Grahame, Founder of Settle

Karen has mentored

Hubbub Enterprise

A social enterprise taking ideas of how to engage the public in environmental change into scaleable businesses.

 

  • The Dusty Knuckle
  • Change Please
  • Settle
  • Hubbub Enterprise
  • Chatterbox
  • NevHouse
  • Project Access
  • Fair Full
  • Glo-Ed
  • Juta Shoes

My session with Karen Lynch was really inspiring, we covered loads of ground and she’s given me really clear tools and advice in response to the business challenges I shared. I feel well-equipped and excited to progress with the next steps around strategy development and Hubbub’s value proposition.”

Rebecca Dove, Managing Director of Hubbub

Karen has mentored

Chatterbox

Chatterbox offers online and in-person language tutoring delivered by trained refugee tutors.

 

  • The Dusty Knuckle
  • Change Please
  • Settle
  • Hubbub Enterprise
  • Chatterbox
  • NevHouse
  • Project Access
  • Fair Full
  • Glo-Ed
  • Juta Shoes

Extremely useful advice. Karen understood the architecture of my business at record speed. The rest of our session was filled with extremely useful advice and questions supported by her evidently impressive understanding of commerce.”

Mursal Hedayat, Founder of Chatterbox

Karen has mentored

NevHouse

NevHouse takes the waste that we throw away and turns it into affordable shelter. A sustainable social enterprise delivering love and light to nations in need.

  • The Dusty Knuckle
  • Change Please
  • Settle
  • Hubbub Enterprise
  • Chatterbox
  • NevHouse
  • Project Access
  • Fair Full
  • Glo-Ed
  • Juta Shoes

Karen’s experience really matched my needs. Her in depth knowledge was mana to me. Very constructive, no fluff and pragmatic. I came away with three concrete ideas that I can work on. Many thanks Karen!

Miriam Wilson, General Partner of NevHouse

Karen has mentored

Project Access

We give under-privileged students access to information and support that their more affluent peers already receive. We do this through cost-efficient, high-impact initiatives, using the insights we’ve gained by helping over 1,900 students apply to top universities.

  • The Dusty Knuckle
  • Change Please
  • Settle
  • Hubbub Enterprise
  • Chatterbox
  • NevHouse
  • Project Access
  • Fair Full
  • Glo-Ed
  • Juta Shoes

Karen is more creative on business model thinking than anyone I’ve met with before. She was very good at transferring the energy to think creatively about a problem, and I left with a new set of ideas to think about in terms of revenue structure.

Anna Gross, Co-Founder & CEO of Project Access

Karen has mentored

Fair Full

Deliciously positive. We create a world where every bite tastes great and does good.

 

  • The Dusty Knuckle
  • Change Please
  • Settle
  • Hubbub Enterprise
  • Chatterbox
  • NevHouse
  • Project Access
  • Fair Full
  • Glo-Ed
  • Juta Shoes

Karen was fantastic. She gave me plenty of encouragement and food for thought, challenging my thinking and making amazing suggestions.”

Adam Bacon, Co-Founder of Fairfull

Karen has mentored

Glo-Ed

Glo-Ed organises tailor-made school & group trips worldwide. From regular tried and tested itineraries to completely bespoke programmes, and from entire tours to ad-hoc single services (ie just hotels or transport etc)- wherever you want to go and whatever you need – Glo-Ed can help.

  • The Dusty Knuckle
  • Change Please
  • Settle
  • Hubbub Enterprise
  • Chatterbox
  • NevHouse
  • Project Access
  • Fair Full
  • Glo-Ed
  • Juta Shoes

It was great to meet an expert like Karen to get guidance and reassurance in our business. The session provides food for thought and provides a fresh perspective on things from someone who has much experience.

Christian Walker, Founder of Glo-Ed

Karen has mentored

Juta Shoes

Handcrafted espadrilles made in London from reclaimed leather and environmentally-friendly materials.

 

  • The Dusty Knuckle
  • Change Please
  • Settle
  • Hubbub Enterprise
  • Chatterbox
  • NevHouse
  • Project Access
  • Fair Full
  • Glo-Ed
  • Juta Shoes

Karen was insightful, engaged, and genuine in our mentoring session. She’d spent time learning about our business model, our impact and our communications, and brought thoughtful ideas and questions to help us think ambitiously and broad. Above all, she was enthusiastic, interested, and optimistic!

Joanna Hamer, Co-Founder of Juta Shoes

Want to meet with Karen?