Josh Littlejohn MBE
Josh Littlejohn MBE is a leading social entrepreneur, inspirational speaker and Sunday Times best-selling author.
Josh Littlejohn 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 Littlejohn MBE story from both a personal and professional perspective is a true inspiration to audiences of all generations. Over the past decade, Josh has spoken at many events throughout the world and has become a choice keynote, expanding on a variety of topics in social impact, entrepreneurship and beyond.
Josh has the power to motivate, inspire and teach individuals on how we can all make a difference.
Key areas of focus:
- Entrepreneurship and start-ups
- Making a difference
- Tackling Homelessness and Poverty
- Starting a global movement
- Manifesting your goals into reality
- Work/Life balance
- Challenges in employing people from excluded backgrounds
Awards and Recognitions
- Member of the British Empire (MBE)
- Pride of Britain 2019 – Special Recognition
- Debretts List of 500 Most Influential People in the UK
- Honorary Degrees from Edinburgh University, Napier University, Robert Gordon University, Open University and Stirling University
- The Great London Scot Award 2018 for Outstanding Young Talent
- The Livingstone Medal – awarded by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society in recognition of outstanding service of a humanitarian nature
- Great Scot Award 2016
- The Observer Food Awards 2016 – Outstanding Achievement
- Winner of a Robert Burns Humanitarian Award 2020
- Ernst and Young Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2015
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.
— Nicola Sturgeon
"Josh and Social Bite are being bold in trying to show how the cycle of homelessness can be broken, by giving people support and stability, and that's something that I'm keen to back"-
— Sir Chris Hoy
"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…"-
— RSM UK