Josh Littlejohn MBE
Josh began his career as a social entrepreneur when he co-founded Social Bite, a social enterprise with a mission to end homelessness. Social Bite started as a small chain of sandwich shops that began offering jobs and free food to homeless people. The cafes shot to global fame when Hollywood A-lister George Clooney visited an outlet in Edinburgh in 2015. Another Oscar winner Leonardo DiCaprio then visited the social enterprise in 2016. Social Bite now employs over 75 people, many from a background of homelessness; and gives out over 200,000 items of food each year to homeless and vulnerable people through a network of cafes across the UK.
In May 2018, Josh and his team launched an innovative accommodation project for homeless people in Edinburgh called the Social Bite Village, welcoming their first residents later that year. The Village comprises of 11 prefabricated wooden houses with gardens and a community hub, built on vacant land. The project offers a home to vulnerable homeless people for between 1 and 3 years, during which time they are provided with extensive support in a community environment where residents learn new skills and get their life back on track. This project combined with a nationwide ‘Housing First’ project that Social Bite created in partnership with the Scottish Government has resulted in over 1000 homeless people being housed in Scotland.
In May 2019, alongside Will Smith and Dame Helen Mirren, Josh launched a global campaign: “The World’s Big Sleepout”. The campaign staged ‘sleep out’ fundraising events in over 52 cities throughout the world including Times Square, New York and Trafalgar Square, London. 60,000 people slept out in unison in the world’s largest display of solidarity for homeless and displaced people, and raised funds for charities all over the world.
Josh is also the co-founder of Brewgooder, a social enterprise brewery that sells beer and donates proceeds to fund clean water projects in Africa.
Josh has so far raised over £25 million for charity and homelessness causes.
In 2023, Josh released his debut book entitled “Paying it Forward: How to be a social entrepreneur”, which debuted at number 7 on the Sunday Times Best Sellers chart.
Josh has received an MBE from the Queen, which he dedicated to the homeless and marginalized. He has received a Pride of Britain Award, a Robert Burns Humanitarian Award, 5 honorary doctorates and he also made the Debrett’s list of 500 most influential people in the UK.
"Josh was fantastic, his story is so inspirational and the audience were both moved and motivated by his story. Please pass on our thanks to him. He really did a great job and we’d love to use him again for another client event."
"Josh and Social Bite have done incredible work to help homeless people in Scotland by giving them the opportunity to work in their cafes and restaurants. Their groundbreaking new homeless village which will help break the cycle of homelessness."
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon
“…We at RSM were privileged that Josh accepted our invitation to be our guest speaker at our Leadership Lunch in our Edinburgh office to deliver a key note speech to our handpicked guest list of business leaders. Josh delivered an articulate, informed, thought provoking and impassioned speech as to his support of, work with, and Leadership in, tackling homelessness in Scotland. Josh is an impressive advocate for this very worthy cause…”.
"Josh is an inspirational and very engaging speaker. You could have heard a pin drop in a room of 400 people as he recounted the story of Social Bite."
Lindsay Gardiner, Regional Leader, PwC
“I have heard Josh speak on a number of occasions, most recently at a KPMG conference with a number of my colleagues. For someone so young, he has a great story to tell and delivers it in both an interesting and humorous manner. The feedback was fantastic, everyone feeling truly inspired. I would have no hesitation in recommending Josh.”
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