The need to develop local enterprise, skills and jobs is one of the most common themes raised by local communities where we operate. Shell has a variety of programmes to support and encourage the building of new businesses and generate local employment. The longest-running ones have been going for more than 30 years and have helped countless entrepreneurs to get their ideas off the ground.

Our flagship: Shell LiveWIRE

Our flagship programme for entrepreneurs is Shell LiveWIRE, which started in Scotland in 1982. Today it runs in 15 countries and attracts thousands of participants every year.

Its aim is to provide young entrepreneurs with business skills training and mentoring as well as start-up grants and awards. These help transform their business ideas into sustainable sources of income that can create jobs and stimulate economic growth. 

Programmes are tailored by country to address local needs and business environments. In the UK, for example, Shell LiveWIRE encourages sustainable energy and mobility solutions. In other countries such as South Africa, the focus is addressing youth unemployment and generating opportunities in sectors that contribute most to the local economy. 

Shell LiveWIRE really works. In 2015, more than 8,000 people took part worldwide and more than 90 businesses were established.

Visit the Shell LiveWIRE International website to see if the programme is available where you live and for details of how to apply.

Supporting Shell LiveWIRE alumni

Once up and running, we offer further opportunities and funding for Shell LiveWIRE alumni to help them grow their businesses and celebrate innovation.

  • Our Let’s Go Trade programme helps entrepreneurs who would like to travel internationally to investigate new markets and find ways to innovate in their business.
  • The Top Ten Innovators awards invites past participants to share their learnings and inspire others through their stories. Prizes are given to young role models who have succeeded in accelerating their innovative business ideas.

Meet some of the Shell LiveWIRE entrepreneurs

Turning footsteps into light

Pavegen, set up by Shell LiveWIRE UK grant winner Laurence Kemball-Cook, developed kinetic tiles to capture the energy of footsteps and convert it into electricity.

Transforming used coffee into energy

Bio-bean, Shell LiveWIRE UK finalists from 2013, are turning thousands of tonnes of used coffee grounds from coffee factories, coffee shops and offices into biofuel.

Pitching to the president

GiveMeTap set up by Shell LiveWIRE UK participant Edwin Broni-Mensah sells reusable bottles. The entrepreneurs behind it recently pitched their idea to Barack Obama.

Helping people with medical conditions

Esther Wang's company, Joytingle, won Shell's Top Ten Innovator prize in 2015 for the interactive toy, “Rabbit Ray”  which helps reduce anxiety experienced by young children undergoing medical treatment.

Bringing light to rural areas

Fatima Tendai, a Shell Pakistan LiveWIRE winner, whose solar lamp company won a Shell Tameer award for the economic opportunities it provides to rural communities.

Turning ideas into businesses

We are helping a new generation of entrepreneurs across Brazil turn their ideas into thriving businesses. They include Natália Vital who opened a hostel for oil and gas workers.

Running Shell LiveWIRE in Nigeria

Read the stories of Nigerian entrepreneurs whose projects were supported by Shell LiveWIRE. Many of its alumni have gone on to grow successful businesses.

Developing enterprise around the world

In addition to Shell LiveWIRE, Shell runs other social investment programmes that support new businesses and encourage entrepreneurship.

  • In Qatar, Shell supports ‘Enterprise Challenge Qatar’ a programme that encourages young people to consider entrepreneurship as a career path. The programme is delivered to students by volunteer mentors from a variety of professional backgrounds. 
  • Shell Canada runs The Shell Quest Climate Grant supporting entrepreneurs with ideas that can help address climate change. The scheme awards grants to successful applicants with projects that focus on energy efficiency, behavioural and social change, as well as clean energy initiatives.
  • Entrepreneurs of any age can apply to Shell Springboard in the UK. It provides funding to commercially viable, low-carbon businesses selected by an independent panel of judges. Past winners include GravityLight (2015), for its innovative technology that generates light from falling rocks, and Cella Energy (2011), which developed hydrogen storage technology and has since attracted funding from the US aeronautical agency Nasa.
  • Brunei Shell Petroleum works with the Ministry of Education and University of Brunei Darussalam to run ‘Brunei Entrepreneurial Education Scheme (BEES)’ which provides entrepreneurship training to secondary school students.

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Shell LiveWIRE

Visit the Shell LiveWIRE global website and see if the programme is available where you live.