How it works
Through our Human Lending Library (HLL) social entrepreneurs looking for business advice can ‘borrow’ one of our Experts, for free, to help them solve their challenges and scale fast.
Tell us about your organisation and the particular challenge you would like help with by filling in our application form. It will take about 10 minutes.
We’ll consider which of our Experts has the appropriate experience to help you with the challenge you are tackling. We’ll then suggest a match and arrange a date and time for the two of you to meet.
Before you meet one of our Experts, we’ll help you prepare for the session. On the day, you will spend an hour, one-on-one, with one of our Experts to discuss your business challenges and get their advice.
Ready to meet an expert?
Beyond the Sessions
Events are a really important part of what we do. They help us support our Alumni beyond their Human Lending Library® session and provide a great platform to promote their work. They also help us to promote our work to a wider audience, establish ourselves as thought leaders and alert more social entrepreneurs to The Human Lending Library®.
The Alumni Network
Everyone that uses the Human Lending Library graduates to become a member of our Alumni Network.
Now with more than 200 members who all run socially impactful organisations, the network is a powerful group of peers, who mentor/advise each other and who we support to deal with the personal and organisational challenges that come with leadership in social enterprise.
Several members of the Alumni sit on a Board that advises on events for the network and provides crucial feedback on organisational decisions as we grow.
Expert Impact organises several events annually for Human Lending Library alumni and the Alumni Board is influential in deciding the format and content of these events.
The Alumni network is supported by the players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
Am I eligible?
We support entrepreneurs (whether their ventures are for-profit or not-for-profit) who are making significant positive social impact and have a specific issue they’d like to discuss with one of our Experts.
To be eligible to meet with one of our Experts;
You need to be able to demonstrate that your work makes an impact in at least one of the following areas:
- The arts
- Poverty alleviation
- Scientific research
And, your venture needs to be post-launch, with a proven business model and ready to scale.
You can be based anywhere in the world, but you’ll need to be able to meet with your Expert in person at your nearest Human Lending Library, unfortunately we are unable to cover travel expenses.
If this sounds like you then apply now.
How do I apply?
Fill in the application form here. It takes about 10 minutes.
Can I specify which Expert I’d like to meet?
We cannot guarantee introductions to specific Experts, but we do spend a lot of time and energy thinking about who would be a good fit for each venture and issue.
However, there is a section in the application form where you can state a preference for one of our Experts and include a reason why you think they would be a good fit for you.
How long does the matching process take?
The average length of time between applying and meeting an Expert is 2 months.
If I’m unhappy with the person you match me with, what happens next?
Although we spend a lot of time and energy thinking about who would be a good fit for each venture and issue, you are under no obligation to go ahead with the meeting if you are unhappy with your match.
We make sure both parties are happy before we set up any meetings.
What happens in a Human Lending Library mentoring session?
You get to spend an hour with one of our Experts. You can talk about anything you’d like with the one house rule that you cannot ask the Expert to invest in your venture. You get the chance to build your network and borrow the brain of a high profile successful entrepreneur to find new perspectives and interesting solutions to your business issues. We will also mention your venture in our communications and invite you to events to meet other entrepreneurs.
How much does it cost?
Absolutely nothing. Expert Impact is a charity and our Experts give their time for free.
Do I meet the Expert before the session?
No. The first time you meet them will be the day of your hour-long session. We’ll make sure that they’re briefed on your company and why you want to talk to them. Also we’ll help brief you on how to get the most out of the session before it happens.
Where will my mentoring session take place?
The Human Lending Library closest to you. For location details of Human Lending Libraries, click here
Do you pay travel expenses?
We do not.
How long will the session be?
The sessions last for an hour.
How do I prepare for the session?
To get the most out of the session we’d recommend you firstly prepare a short verbal summary of you, your venture, its impact and a maximum of three issues you’d like to discuss, addressing the most important one first.
It will be useful to have examples of solutions you’ve already thought of and tested and specific topics you’ve like to cover.
An hour is a decent amount of time for a meeting but it can pass in a flash – it’s worth preparing to make sure you both have enough material to discuss, and also that you have sufficient structure that you get through everything that matters to you.
What issues can the Expert help me with?
Typical requests for support cover areas include customer acquisition, HR and team growth, business development, strategic planning, raising investment, good governance and technology.
What if it is a confidential issue?
Everything you share during the sessions is protected using the NDA agreement that everyone in the programme signs and your meeting will take place in a private room. You can speak freely – that’s the point of the exercise!
Can I ask for introductions?
Yes. We expect our Experts will have a lot of helpful contacts that will be relevant to you and your business. Ask away!
What happens after the session?
We’ll ask you to complete a feedback form.
You’ll also become part of our Alumni Network, a group of peers who have also used the Human Lending Library from whom you can seek support.
We host several events annually where our alumni can network and get informed on core business topics. You and your venture will also feature on our website.
We may also check in with you further down the line to see how you’re getting on or to request help with content.
Can I talk to someone after the session if I have more questions?
Yes, a member of the Expert Impact team will be on hand to talk to answer any questions after the session. You’ll also become a member of the Alumni Network and can use the group for ongoing support.
Can I apply for further sessions with other mentors?
In exceptional circumstances people have been offered the chance to meet with another Expert. These are considered on a case by case basis.
Can I stay in touch with my mentor after the session?
We really hope you will. Some social entrepreneurs and Experts have continued their relationship beyond the Human Lending Library session but we can’t guarantee it. It’s like any relationship – it depends if there is a rapport on the day and if both parties want to stay connected. We’ll help you to consider how to do this as part of the pre session briefing.
Is anything up for discussion?
Any organisational or business matter can be discussed. The only rule is that you cannot ask for investment for your venture.