Chris Arnold (entrepreneur)
Chris Arnold (born 4 November 1972) is an entrepreneur and businessman from Liverpool, and the founder of Camp Leaders, Smaller Earth and the Co-founder of World Merit* and most recently Heroic Books Ltd.
Arnold founded his first company, Camp Leaders, in 1999. After spending a summer working at a camp in the US, he founded the company to send young people from the UK to work in summer camps in the United States, recruiting 32 people in the first year. On 11 September 2001, the company moved into its own office in Liverpool, after placing 65 people for its second summer. In summer 2019, Camp Leaders supported over 8000 people to have a cultural exchange experience in the United States and has offices in 16 countries.
Smaller Earth Group
Arnold founded Smaller Earth in 2006. An expansion on the concept begun with Camp Leaders, it creates travel and work opportunities that place young people internationally on projects that include conservation efforts, working with animals, building projects and coaching children. Smaller Earth is the core company of the Smaller Earth Group, which now includes Camp Leaders, as well as other brands in technology, outdoor recreation, and entrepreneurial ventures.
In 2010, the Smaller Earth Group launched the Your Big Year competition. Your Big Year offers a prize of a one-year placement for the winner to travel around the world meeting with global and business leaders and working on various projects. The winners in the first year were freelance journalist Carielle Doe of New York, and youth activist Michael Teoh of Malaysia. The award is part of Global Entrepreneurship Week. The winner of 2012 Your Big Year was Charles Batte, a medical student from Uganda. Other members of the Smaller Earth Group include technology and design company Cleversteam, the web and design provider for the Smaller Earth Group, and fitness company Power To Be.
In 2012, Arnold launched World Merit*, a platform to create an online and offline community of talented young people internationally. It features the World Merit Fellowship program (formerly Merit Next) as its flagship program which is a year-long leadership training program in cities in the US and UK focused on developing skills in business, science and technology, entrepreneurship, politics and public service, culture and media. The first cohort of World Merit Fellows started their leadership program in Liverpool on 20 July 2014.
World Merit organised World Merit Day on 24 July at the BT Convention Centre in Liverpool. The day included the 'What Matters' Conference which saw over 14 hours of speeches and workshops delivered by inspirational people including Malala Yousafzai, the education activist who was shot by the Taliban. Malala was also joined by world-renowned educationalist Sir Ken Robinson, acid attack survivor and TV presenter Katie Piper alongside Margaret Aspinall, chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group. Climate change activists Felix Finkbeiner of the Plant-for-the-Planet and Parker Liautaud were also present on the day. The World Merit Day culminated with a music concert featuring Space, Esco Williams, Mic Lowry, Nikki Belle and Hoodie Ledbetter. As the only official youth focused event conducted as part of the International Festival for Business (IFB), World Merit Day saw many young people from different parts of the world.
In 2020, Arnold became the co-founder of Heroic Books LTD with Helen Blakeman. A publishing company focused on the development and publishing of fantasy and science fiction authors. Heroic Books published its first novel in July 2020, titled A Testament of Steel by author Davis Ashura. Heroic is a member of the Publishers Association.
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