Co-founder of Raaise and Rebel Book club, sustainability advocate and startup expert Ben Keene discusses his business journey, the importance of startups, and all things Ideas Fest.

Rebel book club

From an island in Fiji, via the beaches of West Africa, to the English West Country, Ben has spent 20 years exploring how to make a positive impact through building startups, communities and adventures.

Ben has helped 1000s of people and organisations do work that matters to them (& the world) - whether that’s through starting an impact business, building an exciting career, or growing a purposeful community. And he will be continuing his work as he joins us at Ideas Fest to host our StartUps Will Save Us workshop and the Festival Book Club.

The funding platform for climate startups, Raaise, founded by Ben, will be hosting the ‘Startups Will Save US’ stage which will welcome founders of game-changing startups to pitch their bold plans to smash down the status quo. 

Focusing on businesses fighting a social cause or sustainability, founders will be able to share their stories from how they got their startup idea, to the behind-the-scenes of their business and journey so far, and share how others can get involved with their mission.

With a panel made up of business experts two winners will be crowned, one social business, and the other focusing on sustainability. Both winners will receive a £5k digital advertising campaign, provided by Mail Metro Media Ad Manager, which will be served across Mailonline, Thisismoney, and 

Both winners will also be interviewed and have an editorial case study published across Mailonline and Thisismoney.

The judges and host Ben will also be on hand to give their expert advice - a prize money can’t buy. And who better to host this stage than Ben Keene, the startup expert.

Our founder Francesca James, caught up with Ben to discuss his work, who he’s most looking forward to seeing at Ideas Fest, and much more.


Discussing why he’s excited about Ideas Fest and what made him want to be involved, Ben said, “I’ve spent 20 years building projects and ideas around communities with purpose, and essentially at the centre of all this is ‘how can we turn these ideas we have into real-world projects and actions that have positive impacts?’ So the idea of taking that philosophy and approach and putting it on a festival site in sunny England is like a match made in heaven,”

“So, as soon as I heard about Ideas Fest I was all in,” he said.

Going on to discuss his business Rebel Book Club, which will be hosting our Book Swap and a number of Meet the Author segments, Ben explains how they are on a mission to help people read more. “We exist to help people up their reading game in the world of non-fiction, and to take the ideas and the learnings they get from their reading, back into their lives and into their own self-development, relationships and businesses” he said.

“For Ideas Fest we will be bringing along three incredible non-fiction authors to the stage to get under the skin of their journeys, their ideas and their books.”


We’re so excited to have Ben and his team joining us to play such a huge part at the festival and can’t wait to be inspired by his story. So, we asked Ben who he’s most excited to see.

“I’m excited to reconnect with the amazing Michael Acton-Smith,” he said.

“I followed Michael’s journey over the years, as he’s this Willy Wonka type entrepreneur of British culture. What he’s built at Calm and the positive effect it’s having on people’s mental wellbeing around the work is truly remarkable.” 

Watch the full conversation here to find out more.

Interested in hearing more about Ben, his story and wanting his expert advice? Make sure to get your festival tickets - it’s one you won’t want to miss.