The Edit

Eric Collins, entrepreneurial changemaker

Belong to the legend
From growing up during the American civil rights movement, to advising Barack Obama, and investing in the trailblazers of tomorrow: change within a generation is at the heart of everything entrepreneur Eric Collins does.

How do you create change? Or shift away from the status quo towards something more exciting, more meaningful, more open to all? These pressing questions have been the driving force behind Eric Collins’s greatest achievements.

A force for change

Born in America’s Deep South in the 1960s, Eric grew up at the heart of the American civil rights movement. As the son of a professor at an historically Black college in Alabama, a desire for equality was on his radar from an early age, inspiring him to study law and become a serial instigator and investor.

Since the day I was born, I’ve been part of a movement around social change and making the world a more just and equitable place.

Eric Collins

Eric is perhaps best known as the CEO and co-founder – or as he prefers it, ‘chief convenor’ – of Impact X, a venture capital firm that invests in entrepreneurs from underrepresented communities across Europe. He’s sat on the boards and in the C-suites of multiple rapid-growth technology companies, and was appointed by his former Harvard classmate, Barack Obama, to the US President’s Small Business Administration agency.

Making a name for himself

After moving to the UK, Eric became an ambassador for The Prince’s Trust, hosted reality TV show The Money Maker, and was named one of the UK’s 100 most powerful BAME technology leaders by the Financial Times. In 2022, he published his first book – We Don’t Need Permission: Unlocking Black Empowerment for Good.

It might seem like a wildly diverse résumé, but the links are clear: a willingness to say yes to every opportunity, and a voracious appetite for progress. His core motivation is not only the belief that the world can be made better, but that we can all play a role in it.

Positive action

What does a master changemaker think is key to sustainable, lasting change? It starts with thinking beyond one’s self and recognising that taking positive action for one marginalised group doesn’t necessitate taking anything away from another. In fact, he’s a firm believer that all of society benefits by being more equitable.

At Impact X, he backs people looking to make the world a better place. Giving opportunities to women, people of colour and LGBTQ+ people, who all fall into the category of underrepresented. He’s passionate about how this creates more resources, generating a powerful self-perpetuating engine of transformation.

Technology as an enabler

Eric is equally evangelical about technology’s potential for making the world a fairer place. When it comes to who’s in charge, who’s smart enough, who should be active in a conversation, and who should be creating solutions – he believes technology enables everyone to break all the rules.

Ideas that I didn’t know about ten years ago are now household names that have changed behaviour throughout the world.

Eric Collins

He's also disarmingly honest about fear being his biggest motivation. He’s afraid of standing still and allowing the current status quo to become stagnant. This is a man determined to alter as much as he can, as quickly and as permanently as he can.

Change is in his DNA

When talking about the future, Eric’s talking about a single generation and that’s why he chose capitalism as the opportunity. He’s not interested in saying, “100 years from now there’ll be equality”, he’s on a much tighter timeline.

For someone who continues to make an impact, Eric’s modest about his legacy. He claims, “I don't think people will think about me at all. If they do, I would like them to think about me as part of a process. When I’m gone, someone else is going to take up that toil and do much more than I could ever have imagined. Now that would be a great legacy.”

Eric Collins and his entrepreneurial spirit are part of our Belong to the Legend series. Look out for more unique stories coming soon.