Sainsbury Management Fellows

30 Years Inspiring Engineers to Become Leaders in Business

On 10 May 2017, the SMFs and guests gathered at the Annual Dinner to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Sainsbury Management Fellows.

In 1987 Lord Sainsbury identified a need for UK businesses to have more engineers in leadership positions to help them grow.   He established the SMF Scholarship Scheme which has now produced 375 engineers with business skills (the SMFs).  These SMFs have used their combined technical and commercial skills to create successful businesses and jobs or they work in senior decision-making roles in major corporations and non-profit organisations, including healthcare and education.

The SMFs have contributed to society in a diversity of ways including:

  • 238 fellows have helped further develop some of the UK’s largest corporations, enhancing economic wealth
  • Over 170 fellows have founded or co-founded a business, with a total value of over £4.8bn and creating over 19,000 jobs
  • Over 294 newly founded businesses are still in operation
  • Over 63 fellows are repeat entrepreneurs, starting several businesses
  • 11% of fellows are involved in “VC or Growth” investing in a professional / private (or both) capacity totalling over £400m
  • 107 fellows have raised a total of £1.9 in VC or debt investments
  • Over 40% currently hold executive board roles, and 34% have non-executive roles
  • Over 50% have influenced public life and over 45% have influenced education
  • 283 fellows support and mentor young engineers whilst 136 are involved in charitable organisations
  • Several SMFs teach business and innovation as visiting professors at universities
  • SMF is working to promote business skills and entrepreneurship through its Engineers in Business competition.

We look forward to the next 30 years supporting young engineers to reach their full potential, helping businesses and the UK economy to grow.  To read the speeches delivered at the Annual Dinner by Lord Sainsbury and SMF President, David Falzani, visit our events page.

What SMF means to me…..

Our thanks to Lord Sainsbury, SMFs and the Royal Academy of Engineering for sending a personal video message to share their views on the SMF Scholarship and what it means to them.

SMF Entrepreneurship on Display at the 30th Anniversary Annual Dinner

Alessio Falcone, MBA Candidate at IESE

Here we showcase 13 of our SMFs’ entrepreneurial businesses –  see the banners – see and download the SMF Banners.



30 Years Inspiring Engineers to Become Leaders in Business


  • Tuesday, 3 August 2021

    Should I choose a new career path or return to my employer after my MBA?

    The answer to this question very much depends on your MBA starting point.  If you are studying an Executive MBA and it is part of your firm’s career plan for you, then naturally you will be aiming

    Read More
  • Tuesday, 13 July 2021

    How to Fund My MBA?

    The decision to embark on an MBA is one of the most important of your career. The experience will sharpen your business skills and will open the door to new and exciting career opportunities in the fu

    Read More
More Blogs

The Sainsbury Management Fellows is registered as a charity: Engineers in Business Fellowship, charity number 1147203 and is a company limited by guarantee : 07807250