Barclays and Unreasonable Group established the Unreasonable Impact project to help entrepreneurs with potentially world-changing ideas tackle global unemployment.

Can big business ever be the solution rather than the problem when it comes to solving the world’s most pressing social and environmental problems?

Barclays and Unreasonable Group think so. Their collaborative startup project, Unreasonable Impact, aims to prove that tackling global unemployment is not only possible but profitable.

The International Labour Organization estimates that 212 million new jobs will be needed by 2020 to accommodate current unemployment levels. In addition, that projected figure takes into account job losses resulting from automation and providing opportunities for the next generation.

Unreasonable Impact - Compelo

Unreasonable Impact aims to support high-growth startups.


The ILO also notes that small and medium-sized businesses provide two-thirds of jobs at a global level.

Unreasonable Impact explained

Unreasonable impact is, therefore, helping entrepreneurs running startups with high growth potential (500+ jobs over the next five years) to scale-up their businesses.

The project also focuses on businesses that are striving to tackle major global challenges.

Barclays has worked with new businesses for 325 years and offers financial advice and support. However, Unreasonable Group also has an equally important role to play.

The company specialises in business accelerator programmes to tackle global issues such as access to renewable energy and healthcare.

Together, the two companies established Unreasonable Impact in 2016 and support businesses in 170 countries that provide nearly 10,000 jobs.



The long-term goal is to work with more than 100 similar entrepreneurs worldwide, through a two-week intensive programme. In addition to resources and a global support network, the programme also includes mentorship and advice from Barclays experts, entrepreneurs and innovators such as Google X co-founder Tom Chi.

Sundar: democratising the apparel supply chain

Part of Unreasonable Impact Asia, Sundar aims to make the trillion dollar apparel supply chain more democratised, transparent and sustainable.

“Critically, the apparel industry is one of the largest employers across the world, and the apparel supply chain is the most fragmented, distributed and opaque – and ripe for disruption and impact for sustainability,” says founder and CEO Jag Gill.

The platform aims to connect fashion brands with textile manufacturers and suppliers around the world. As a result, highly-skilled and fairly-paid workers make products faster and more safely.

Axelspace: advancing microsatellites technology

Making smaller, more flexible satellites – known as micro-satellites – for private sector firms and research institutions is the goal of Axelspace.



The technology captures imagery of the entire planet’s surface with human activities every single day to accurately forecast the best harvest times and detect illegal logging.

“Ever since I started the company, my ultimate mission has always been to make it far easier to utilize space and share values of space with people around the world,” says president and CEO Yuya Nakamura. “The company slogan is ‘Space within your reach’.”

Desolenator: tackling water scarcity

Four billion people could be without access to clean water by 2030.

Desolenator offers the world’s first affordable, compact, and portable device that uses solar technology to purify water. As a result, the UK-based startup hopes to empower rural communities to create and profit from clean water.

“Desolenator aims to co-harvest the energy of the sun, and we harvest all that heat by cooling a solar panel down with water,” says CEO and co-founder William Janssen.

“Water that boils gives vapour, and the wonderful thing about water vapour is that it’s pure H2O. Apart from a few small exceptions, it will provide us with a distillate.



“Our device takes the vapour off the broiler vessel and heat exchanges it against the water in the solar collector, so that we can create distilled water and give back some of that energy that is caught in the vapour, creating a closed-circuit device that is compact and functional and provides clean water for people.”

Read more about the relationship between established banks and entrepreneurial startups in Future Banking.

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