The video, featured on the Shell Global website, includes interviews with four Shell LiveWIRE alumni, including the first national winner, Stewart Graham, from North West Scotland, who started off producing lobster creels for local fishermen and 33 years later runs Gael Force, a global marine supplies business employing over 150 staff, with a turnover of US $24.5m.

Opening the video, Jo Cochrane, VP Social Performance, Shell, reveals that LiveWIRE started out in Scotland in 1982 as a measure to combat high levels of youth unemployment, saying, “In 1982, one in eight people in the UK was out of work, and I can vouch for this as an Environmental Sciences graduate of 1983, because I can remember this time very well. But it was also the time when North Sea oil and gas was developing very rapidly, so Shell responded to the soci-economic challenges by launching LiveWIRE, which aimed to address the growing youth unemployment through entrepreneurship.”

Charting the success and growth of LiveWIRE from its roots, Jo continues, “So from those small beginnings in 1982 in Scotland, Shell LiveWIRE has grown to become our flagship enterprise development programme, and has helped literally thousands of young entrepreneurs to set up sustainable, innovative and ultimately scale-able small businesses.”

First national winner

The first national LiveWIRE winner, Stewart Graham, was grateful that LiveWIRE was around to help him develop his lobster creel business in 1983. Stewart says, “Shell LiveWIRE provided me, as an 18-year-old, with the focus to think through and present my business, which was a skill and discipline which was very useful.”

Now active in three key business areas; the commercial fishing and marine sector; the international aquaculture market; and, in waterside property development, Stewart still has the same high ambition for business which gained him the award 33 years ago, saying, “Long-term, we have a vision to grow Gael Force to be a billion-pound company.”

Gael Force is a perfect example of the impact Shell LiveWIRE alumni, over the decades, have had in creating jobs and contributing to economic growth, a point which Jo Cochrane is proud to underline, saying, “LiveWIRE is very important to Shell because when you help local entrepreneurs to set up businesses, they create long-term sources of income for communities, they create jobs and they help to find innovative solutions to social and economic problems.”

Shell supply chain

Jo Cochrane is also quick to add that Shell LiveWIRE is not just about Shell being a responsible corporate citizen, saying, “LiveWIRE is much more than corporate social responsibility for Shell. When you mobilise entrepreneurs to start businesses, Shell benefits in very many ways.

 “First of all, they frequently find their way into our supply chain providing goods and services, either directly or in-directly. They often help us to deliver on our purpose of providing more and clean energy, and supporting the energy transition in countries where we operate.

“But crucially, they help our neighbouring communities to diversify economically, which in the long term makes them less dependent on oil and gas, but also makes them more resilient to whatever the future may hold.”

Three other alumni featured in the video have become part of Shell’s supply chain:

Corporate wellness

Thabitha Malinga, a recent graduate of the Shell LiveWIRE South Africa enterprise development programme, has developed an employee wellness programme which has become part of Shell South Africa’s supply chain.

Shell LiveWIRE South Africa enabled Thabitha to turn her dream of starting her own beauty spa business into a reality, and her business, TMS Mobile Spa, offers a variety of beauty treatments in workplaces or homes in the Johannesburg area. TMS targets busy people who don’t have the time to go to a spa, but who are looking to relieve stress as part of their wellness journey, or as part of a corporate wellness programme.

The potential for TMS to enter Shell’s supply chain was spotted by Shell LiveWIRE South Africa Programme Manager, Ntobeko Mogadime who, working closely with Shell’s C&P team, saw an opportunity for TMS to play a role in the Shell Wellness programme which is run by Shell South Africa’s Health Department.

Ntobeko Mogadime says, “TMS is a good example of how social investment can work closely with other Shell functions to identify potential links between our alumni and the needs of the business. We are pleased with TMS’ achievements and we look forward to finding more market solutions for our existing alumni and creating new start-ups aligned to our supply chain.”

US $24m Shell contract

Another young entrepreneur, supported by LiveWIRE Brunei, has grown his business to secure a US $24m contract with Shell Brunei. Johari Bin Brahim approached Shell LiveWIRE Brunei in 2006 in order to develop his skills and knowledge to start his own construction company. Inspired by the success of Jocon Contractor, Johari and his partners planned to start a business that dealt specifically with the ‘green’ environment, and started Teamone Environmental Technologies in 2014.

Johari then embarked on the Shell LiveWIRE Brunei Energy Programme, a collaboration between LiveWIRE Brunei and the Supply Chain Management of Shell Brunei Petroleum, which provides participants with a detailed understanding of conducting business in the oil and gas sector supply chain.

Following Johari’s involvement in the Shell LiveWIRE Brunei Energy Programme, and in a major development for the business, Teamone was awarded a contract in 2015 with Shell Brunei to supply vacuum tanker, forklift and manpower services. The contract, which is worth around BND 35m (US $24m), provides employment for some 350 local workers.

Commenting on the support that the Shell LiveWIRE Brunei Energy Programme provided Teamone Environmental Technologies with, Rosita Hassan, Supply Chain Leader, Shell Brunei, said, “Shell LiveWIRE provided guidance on how Teamone could establish quality services at competitive market rates. The LiveWIRE Brunei Energy Programme delivers this through its 12 module programme covering, HSE, Financial and Quality Management, and how to participate in Shell tenders.”

Highlighting the development of Teamone as a result of the LiveWIRE Brunei programme, Rosita Hassan added, “Teamone has developed rapidly from a small SME to an established business employing more than 300 people. We have seen significant growth of the company led by young entrepreneurs, committed to the recruitment and training of many young Bruneian workers.”

Solar makes the difference

Solar entrepreneur Henrique Drumond, approached Shell Iniciativa Jovem, the LiveWIRE programme in Brazil, to launch his business, Insolar, to link low-income communities to solar power.

This philosophy is being brought to life in a community-based solar power system in Santa Marta, one of Rio de Janeiro’s central favelas. It was among the first areas to be freed from street gangs under a Brazilian state programme, and is now home to a community determined to build a better life for themselves. However, their hope is held back by the high price and low reliability of its power supply.

Henrique saw the exciting potential of tapping into Santa Marta’s 2,250 annual hours of sunlight and the opportunity to create a community-based solar power system. Insolar’s solar installations, supported in part by Shell, are providing the energy that keeps the lights on at a children’s nursery or powering Internet access at an education centre. This enables the nursery to stay open longer and accept more children, enabling more parents and grandparents to work and earn a wage. In this way, a single action will very quickly bring significant social and economic benefits to every generation in Santa Marta.

Highlighting Insolar’s collaboration with Shell, Henrique says, “Insolar contributes to a clean energy future by promoting the democratization of solar energy in Brazil and, thanks to Shell, spreading the message overseas. We believe that inspiring by example is the best way to empower other entrepreneurs to follow similar paths and help us tackle the energy challenges of the future. Acting locally, thinking globally.

“Shell Iniciativa Jovem helped me to develop my business plan for Insolar, including the pilot project at Santa Marta, and introduced me to an amazingly powerful network of dynamic young entrepreneurs.”

Insolar is now collaborating with Shell’s #makethefuture programme to provide affordable energy to low-income residents in some of Brazil’s most disadvantaged communities and, with a business model which could be rolled-out to benefit communities across the world.

For more information on 35 years of Shell LiveWIRE please click here.