10.02.23

Member Spotlight: Hatch Enterprise

In 2023 we are beginning a new series spotlighting members from across our global network, starting with our UK member Hatch Enterprise, who joined the YBI network in 2021.

Hatch Enterprise is a UK based charity supporting underrepresented entrepreneurs to launch and grow sustainable and impactful businesses. Hatch supports those facing the most barriers to entrepreneurship to access the right opportunities to thrive, including young people, women, disabled people, and those from ethnic minority backgrounds. Hatch has worked with over 8,000 founders so far, providing enterprise support opportunities including expert-led cohort programmes, finance and marketing clinics, networking opportunities, in-depth panel discussions, workshops, mentoring sessions, and more.

Originally focusing on delivering support to founders across London, Hatch became a delivery partner for Youth Business International in 2020 as part of YBI’s Rapid Response and Recovery Programme with Google.org, and was able to expand its services across the whole of the UK through optimising online support offerings. Following this successful partnership, Hatch became a YBI member in 2021 and was able to benefit hugely from being part of a diverse and progressive international community of like minded organisations.

The benefits of being part of this community were made especially clear through YBI’s 2022 Global Youth Entrepreneurship Summit in the Hague, a valuable opportunity to engage more with an international community of organisations all working towards the same goal of building a better world through entrepreneurship. A delegation from Hatch was able to attend and get actively involved, with Deryl Thatcher from Hatch hosting day two of the event alongside Naho Kawashima from YBI’s member ETIC in Japan.

This relationship between YBI members Hatch and ETIC has gone from strength to strength since the event, with the ETIC team being hosted in the Hatch office twice for shadowing and best practice sharing opportunities;Hatch CEO Dirk Bischof plans to spend time in Japan this year to learn from their 30-year journey delivering impactful enterprise support. In the current climate especially, it is incredibly important for organisations in the UK to forge international relationships and keep connected to ideas and innovation occurring beyond our borders. Thanks to YBI, Hatch has been presented with abundant opportunities to do just that.

“We believe in building bridges with partners around the world. Youth entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship generally can be quite a lonely affair, both for founders and – before YBI – also for us as the support organisations. Now being in an amazing network that YBI is building and has built already, we feel really privileged that we get to share best practices and we get to work with other partners across the world.” – Dirk Bischoff, CEO of Hatch Enterprise

In-person events like YBI’s Global Summit and the launch of its research paper Tomorrow’s Entrepreneurs in the House of Lords last year have offered hugely positive opportunities to engage with stakeholders and organisations beyond Hatch’s existing circles. YBI’s new programmes, such as the partnership with JPMorgan Chase on which Hatch is a delivery partner, will continue to ensure that entrepreneurs in the UK can access the right expertise and opportunities to grow their business in a sustainable way and have an impact on their sector.

Hatch support hundreds of underepresented entrepreneurs every year, of which Grace and Sofia are two.

Grace Beards, 31, is the co-founder of Paws & Pause, a city-based daycare for dogs with a social impact focus, providing training opportunities for people in long-term unemployment. Grace and her co-founder Jodie met while both working at a homelessness charity delivering a recovery programme for those recovering from substance use. It was during this time that they identified the lack of sustainable routes into employment for people in recovery as well as limited animal based opportunities, and the idea for their business was born. 

 Grace has Borderline Personality Disorder and feels strongly that personality disorders and addictions are hugely misunderstood. She is passionate about creating a space through her business where people don’t feel stigmatised but feel welcomed and celebrated for all that they are. When Grace joined the Hatch programme she was preparing to grow the business, wanting to expand to more sites, and was keen to access support to scale the enterprise effectively and meet other social entrepreneurs who understood her challenges and successes.

“There are so many amazing elements about being involved with Hatch that it’s impossible to pick just one. The programme is a great way to meet  people going through similar challenges and with experts joining each session it gives you the chance to learn from the best  and get exposure to experts we wouldn’t be able to afford at this stage of our business. On top of the course you also get access to 1:1 expert sessions which have been amazing! We have had help with so many things including: customer research, redesigning our newsletter, access to a social enterprise specialist lawyer to help us understand our business structure. I also have recommended Hatch to so many people and will continue to do so!” 

Sophia Ukor, 31, is the founder of Violet Simon, a media-tech company that amplifies the voices of women from all walks of life using authentic storytelling. Sophia moved to the UK from Nigeria eight years ago, and despite her strong entrepreneurial background explains that feelings of loneliness and isolation made the process of setting up her business very challenging. 


“It’s very lonely being an entrepreneur, and having left all of my networks behind in Nigeria made it even more difficult.” 

Having had to put her business on hold during pregnancy complications, she was keen to pick up where she left off and throw herself into growing Violet Simon, starting with a series on Disruptors. A key step in reinvesting in her business was joining the Hatch Incubator programme to find a community of like-minded people and support to grow. 

“A community is having people see you, hear you, support you. The sense of community is amazing from the mentors and other founders – I connected with lots of amazing women. Hatch Enterprise works with Youth Business International and provides an incubator setting for what an entrepreneur needs to thrive, to learn skills, and to build networks that are critical to the success of any business.  And the support that they have given me has provided me and helped me to find a new community of entrepreneurs and business leaders who have actively helped me and still help me, both in terms of developing useful networks and as well as building my confidence.”  

We’ll be spotlighting more of our members around the world throughout 2023. You can find out more about Hatch and our network of members here

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