Jo Salter

Lisa is an authentic East Ender of Polish and Irish descent. Lisa cares deeply about the community and making Tower Hamlets safe and inclusive for everyone, having always lived and worked locally. She started her career as a market trader and from an early age was honing her entrepreneurial skills. Lisa went on to support at-risk young people with legal issues and appeals. As a community volunteer, Lisa has raised substantial funds for education and charitable organisations and has strategically supported many more.

Lisa is a fellow of The School of Social Entrepreneurs, graduating in 2013.

She was also recognised in 2021 by being a winner of the Social Innovation Prize. This is is awarded annually by Trinity Hall College Cambridge, and the Cambridge Centre for Social Innovation based at  University of Cambridge Judge Business School. It is given to a few chosen individuals for their achievement to date and for their ambitious plans for the future.

As the founder of Social Ark, Lisa helps grassroots social entrepreneurs, whom she describes as ‘hidden gems’, to use their lived experience to develop social businesses and to create a better life for themselves and the community around them.

Social justice and environmental protection are key values for entrepreneur Jo Salter. Even whilst working for BT for 15 years in a range of technical and managerial roles Jo volunteered for a number of charity organisations, eventually succumbing to her ‘calling’ to commit herself full time to making the world a better place.

After several years consulting to other organisations, setting up a short lived ethical uniform business and giving birth to two boys, Jo founded the social enterprise Where Does It Come From? in 2013 to create ‘kind clothes that tell tales’. The business has led the way in transparency by putting a code on the label of each garment for customers to trace its total creation story, exploring the eco processes used and getting to know the people involved. Jo believes this innovation – connecting customers digitally with the people and processes behind their clothing – will inspire them to connect emotionally with their clothes and ultimately to change their shopping behaviour. Jo has embedded environment friendly ethics throughout the business – using organic and sustainable fabrics, carbon-free and low water production processes and ensuring the business has sustainable packaging, labels and even a wind-powered website.

A firm believer in the need to inspire people to embrace positive change, Jo is a published writer and speaker. Her articles have appeared in numerous publications including Metro UK, Juno, Ethical Rebel and the Huffington Post. She regularly speaks about the need for ethics in business and has appeared on BBC TV and Radio. She also hosts and speaks at events for businesses, customers and academia, including being invited by the Government of Rajasthan in India in January 2020 to speak at a conference on sustainable fabric. 1n 2021 she launched the Where Does It Come From? podcast, hosting discussions on the impacts of ‘stuff’ on people and planet.

Jo is a member of her hometown Ipswich Fairtrade steering group, and a NED/Trustee of social enterprises Khadi London and Ethiqana. She was selected in 2019 as a DEFRA Year of Global Change ambassador and in 2020 as a Pioneers Post/NatWest WISE 100 (Woman in Social Enterprise). In 2022 she was listed as a top 50 Sustainable Fashion Influencer. Jo is a fellow of the School for Social Entrepreneurs.

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