A ‘serial social entrepreneur’, in 1993 Michael commissioned action-research for six social ventures on their franchise potential, held a national conference and published an accompanying handbook on ‘Charity Franchising’. In 1995 he established the Centre for Innovation in Voluntary Action to promote innovation, and has successfully replicated a range of social ventures including foundations run by young people (YouthBank), street children’s banks in South Asia (Children’s Development Bank), and crisis helplines for vulnerable children (ChildLine India).
In 2001, Michael conceived and co-founded UnLtd: the foundation for social entrepreneurs in the UK, which received an endowment of £100 million from the UK Lottery. UnLtd supports some 2,000 early-stage social entrepreneurs a year. Michael then replicated this foundation in India and South Africa. Michael is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Cape Town business school and a Professor at the China Global Philanthropy Institute in Shenzhen. Michael is the founding chair of the ICSF.