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HEIs in England will work with student bodies, social enterprise support agencies and private companies to develop innovative cross-sector approaches to supporting social entrepreneurs at a local, regional or national level.
HEFCE and UnLtd are funding a total of 24 partnerships, involving 18 HEIs and 47 other partners. This is the latest phase of an ongoing five-year collaboration which has already led to the creation of 1,500 new social ventures across 100 universities up and down the country.
The new ‘SEE Change’ (Social Entrepreneurship in Education) programme aims to build capacity in the higher education sector to reach and support greater numbers of social entrepreneurs through social leadership, systems development, and knowledge exchange.
The programme has three active strands:
Eight collaborations led by universities across geographic regions, or working on the same theme, to increase innovation, knowledge exchange and network development. Universities will collaborate with a wide range of cross-sector organisations to enhance and develop ecosystems of support for social entrepreneurs.
Universities will link with social investment experts to develop the skills, capacity, infrastructure and resources needed to support social ventures with the potential to scale up, grow rapidly and, in many cases, exploit commercial models and market opportunities.
Universities will form collaborations focused on developing innovative approaches to enhancing the ecosystem of support for social entrepreneurs. These will take place across sectors at local, regional, national or international level, and could involve student bodies, social enterprise support agencies or private companies.
David Sweeney, Director of Research, Education and Knowledge Exchange, HEFCE said:
‘These programmes are catalysing regional and thematic collaborations across the higher education sector to support social innovation and entrepreneurship, further demonstrating the important anchor role which many universities and colleges play in their communities. They provide a focus for developing capacity within and across institutions, building networks with a wide range of partner organisations, and scaling up activity to meet demand. There is much more to do, but so far HEFCE, UnLtd and the higher education sector have unlocked the potential and are championing tomorrow’s social entrepreneurs with an innovative mix of funding, support, collaborative partnerships, shared learning and network expertise.’
Peter Ptashko, Lead Partnership and Support Manager for UnLtd’s SEE Change programme, said:
‘The 2014-15 SEE Change programme represents the culmination of five years of ground-breaking work developing routes to funding and support for social entrepreneurs in the UK higher education sector.
‘Allying England’s high-quality sector with some of the best and brightest staff, students and recent graduates from across a broad range of partners, UnLtd and HEFCE have led the way by developing compelling offers, environments, tools and resources to help social entrepreneurship and entrepreneurs flourish.
‘We hope to take this exciting, world-leading work further in the coming year and establish a cutting-edge culture change across English universities into the future.’
Leading on the formation of the regional and thematic clusters are:
Kym Billington-Baddley, Enterprise Business Manager for Keele University, said:
‘The thematic geographical cluster, based on strong partnership collaborations, gives much wider access for the growth of social entrepreneurship across the locality.’
Leading on the scale and growth initiative are:
Jeff Willmore, Programme Manager for Oxford Brookes University’s Social Entrepreneur Awards programme and Project Manager for the Oxfordshire Social Entrepreneurship Partnership, said:
‘The SEE Change scale and growth and clusters programmes have enabled us to work closely with our partners, the University of Oxford and Student Hubs, to expand and extend the support that we offer potential and existing social entrepreneurs in Oxfordshire. They have made a huge difference to our ability to find, fund and support social entrepreneurs.’
Leading on the innovation partnerships are:
Karen Race, Deputy Director of Academic Enterprise for Teesside University said:
‘Our project which has secured funding from UnLtd and HEFCE is a partnership between the University and Creative Darlington who will work together to explore how social enterprise principles can be used to ensure the sustainability of arts and creative businesses and to create an ecosystem to provide the necessary support.’