Social Bite founder honoured at graduations

Social entrepreneur Josh Littlejohn receives Honorary Doctorate of Enterprise

Date posted

30 June 2017


Last updated

19 March 2020

Leading social entrepreneur and homelessness campaigner Josh Littlejohn today (Friday June 30) received an honorary degree from Edinburgh Napier University.

The Social Bite sandwich shop chain which Josh co-founded shot to fame when Oscar winner George Clooney visited a branch in Edinburgh’s Rose Street in 2015.

Another Hollywood A-list actor, Leonardo DiCaprio, visited his Home restaurant in Queensferry Street last year.

Josh is also the founder of The Scottish Business Awards and as well as Clooney and DiCaprio, he has enlisted the help of former US President Bill Clinton and entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson to support his social endeavours.

Josh was inspired by the philosophies of Bangladeshi banker Professor Muhammad Yunus, who developed the concept of micro-lending to small community businesses.

He recruited homeless people to work at Social Bite, which donates profits to good causes, and set up a “pay forward” scheme which enabled customers to buy food from the menu for a homeless person.

In 2016, he co-founded a social enterprise beer company called Brewgooder, where 100 per cent of the profits go towards providing clean drinking water.

Josh is currently involved in finalising designs for a village for the homeless in north Edinburgh, a venture which First Minister Nicola Sturgeon supported by serving breakfast to business leaders who took part in a fundraising Sleepout in Charlotte Square last December.

Today he joined hundreds of Edinburgh Napier students at a ceremony in the Usher Hall to receive an Honorary Doctorate of Enterprise.

Josh, 30, who dedicated the MBE he was awarded this year to the homeless and marginalised, said: “It is a privilege to receive this Honorary Doctorate from Edinburgh Napier University.

“I wasn’t much older than the young people graduating here today when I first started Social Bite, where I am lucky to work alongside a fantastic team.

“I would urge today’s graduates to get behind a cause that they too are passionate about, and wish them every success in their future endeavours.”

The other Edinburgh Napier University honorary degree recipients at this week’s graduation celebrations are:

• Dr Peter Bonfield, Chief Executive of the BRE Group, received an Honorary Doctorate of Engineering on Wednesday June 28.

• Professor Julie Fitzpatrick, Scientific Director of the Moredun Research Institute, received an Honorary Doctorate of Science on Thursday June 29.

Professor Andrea Nolan, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Edinburgh Napier University, said: “It is wonderful to see people who have made such a significant impact in the worlds of business, science, industry and the arts joining our celebrations.

“Their drive, talent and enthusiasm will inspire our students as they set out to make their own mark on the world.”

Learn more about Josh and Social Bite