Class of 2024 achievements: James Barber on empowering charities

James Barber is a final year Maths and Computer Science student who’s due to graduate in July 2024. This year, James was awarded an Exceptional Entrepreneur award at the University’s Equality+ Awards.

We spoke with James about his achievements and plans for his next steps after graduation.

If you want to follow James, you can follow him on  or  X (@JamesRoryBarber). You can also find out more about Jamescape on LinkedIn. You can follow Harker on LinkedIn, X (@harkerapp) or Instagram (@harkerapp).

What has been your Uni highlight?

My highlight from my time at university has been all the people I met along the way. I’ve made lifelong friends, listened to inspiring speakers and academics, and found so many people I can share my passions and interests with.

What do you plan to do after graduation?

Continue raising funds for my startup, Harker, to build a platform to help solve homelessness using data and AI. We are a team of (mostly) University of Liverpool students and alumni, building software solutions for charities to help them save money and time.

In 10 years, I’d love to still be in Liverpool (somewhere that I’ve found to become home over my time at University), running a successful start-up and embarking on other entrepreneurial adventures.

Since the end of my studies, a few fellow students have joined me full-time building Harker and we are currently raising investment to finish development. We hope to make a difference to as many charities as possible and, by virtue, enable them to support the most homeless people possible. Anyone who would like to know more can do so via

You were awarded the Exceptional Entrepreneur award. Can you tell us more about this:

We won the award for a few reasons. We have implemented a large project at work relating to fair recruitment and good EDI practises, alongside the product we build being intrinsically positive for EDI, by supporting some of the most disadvantaged in our society, homeless people.

I commissioned a project to get the company to achieve Disability Confident Leader status, through the Government’s Disability Confident scheme to ensure we are doing everything within our power to make our student startup the best it possibly can be for disabled people to work in. Through this project, we implemented a series of improvements at my student startup, which have directly improved interview and employment experiences for our team (most of which are current UoL students or alumni). You can find out more via Jamescape’s blog.

In our recent interviews for Year in Industry students (all University of Liverpool) our new interview practice was put into place and received very positive feedback from all involved. We hope it will encourage more disabled people to work for us in the future.

What advice would you give your younger self?

I think it would be to keep on going and trying out as many things as you can, and saying yes to as many opportunities as possible. University is an incredibly exciting time with the chance to try out so many new things, meet different people and have once-in-a-lifetime experiences, so do whatever you can, what’s the worst thing that can happen?

James’ recommended resources:

Visit Jamescape if you’re interested in helping your employer get Disability Confident and the Government’s Disability Confident website.

James’ final words:

I’d like to thank my supervisor, Martin Gairing, for his support throughout my degree and Lindsay Chadwick, for her support as well. They’ve both supported me significantly academically and Lindsay has supported me personally through some challenging times.

My team at Harker/Jamescape have been invaluable in terms of my professional development, and empowering me to deliver the EDI work we’ve done lately.

Personally, I’d like to thank my partner, Emmeline, for her help over the last couple of years keeping me on track and supporting me through the stress of finishing a degree and running my business.