2009 to 2011
UnLtd and HEFCE led a unique partnership from 2009 to 2011 to deliver the ‘Higher Education Social Entrepreneurship Awards’ (HE SE Awards). The campaign promoted the profile of social entrepreneurship in the Higher Education sector and demonstrated how social entrepreneurship adds value to Higher Education.
This £1 million campaign directly funded and supported the creation of 200 new social ventures by staff and students in 70 universities across England. Just 12 months from start-up each venture had an average of 500 beneficiaries, 12 volunteers, 2 employees and £5,800 in additional income raised with 90% experiencing a boost in their ability to run a venture.
Our research findings recognised the impact made by the campaign on the teaching and development of academic staff, and the employability of students. The report also highlighted policy recommendations and best practice to build on this successful work and create a culture of social entrepreneurship within universities.
Following the impact created by the HESE Awards Campaign, a new campaign was launched to provide a strategic approach to establish an effective eco-system for the development and growth of social entrepreneurship within universities in England.
Aimed at universities in England wanting to work collaboratively to embed support for social venture creation within their institution, we worked directly with 56 universities to place social entrepreneurship at the heart of their culture and infrastructure.
The partner universities received funding for an Awards pot for social venture creation plus tailored support. Collaboratively the partner universities established the systems, tools, methods and processes needed to find, fund and support social entrepreneurs, resulting in hundreds of social ventures being created. During the 2012/13 academic year more than 750 Awards of cash and support were made to staff, students and recent graduates, with a combined value of over £1.4m.
The evaluation of the HE Support programme has been split into two reports.
The first report focuses on capacity and culture developed at HEIs for supporting social entrepreneurs, as well as emerging cross-institutional activity.
The second report is due in January 2014 and will explore the impact of the programme on Award Winners and their impact on communities through delivery of social ventures.
The Current Campaign
HEFCE and UnLtd are currently partnering on SEE Change and working with 59 universities to help mainstream and embed social entrepreneurship support within the HE sector. Maintaining the momentum of this work to date, we aim to strengthen and broaden HE sector support for social entrepreneurship and social enterprise. Our aim is to build knowledge, expertise, capacity and resources to enable a university led ecosystem of support for social entrepreneurs to mature and become self-sustaining.
The next phase of this programme will amplify the impact from the first two programmes and deliver a strategic national programme with social leadership development, systems development and knowledge exchange at its core.
From January 2014, interested universities and organisations will be invited to submit an expression of interest for funding and support to lead on key elements of the programme including:
- The formation of regional and thematic clusters. These will be collaborations led by universities across geographic regions, or working on the same theme, to increase innovation, knowledge exchange and network development. These clusters could also act as ‘supporters’ and buddies for new HEIs wishing to develop their offer to social entrepreneurs.
- The formation of collaborations focused on developing innovative approaches to enhancing the ecosystem of support for social entrepreneurs. These collaborations will be across sectors at local, regional or national level and could involve student bodies, social enterprise support agencies or private companies wishing to partner with and add value to the programme.
- Developing the skills, capacity and infrastructure of universities to support high potential staff and student social entrepreneurs seeking higher level Awards and social investment support. By linking with social investment expertise, this element of the programme will offer universities the opportunity and resources to support social ventures with potential to scale up, grow rapidly and in many cases exploit commercial models and market opportunities.
Further information, including a Prospectus for the programme, will be available from January 2014.
To maximise the programme’s current and future impact, we are keen to celebrate and recognise key individuals, or ‘Champions’, from within the partner universities that have supported the programme to date and who are passionate about ensuring social entrepreneurship remains high on the agenda. To find out who your local Champion is, click here to meet some of these inspirational individuals who are passionate about social entrepreneurship.
If you’re interested in finding out further information about the programme please contact the SEE Change team on 0121 766 4570 or send us an e-mail at HESupport@UnLtd.org.uk.
Supported By HEFCE
Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) distributes public money for higher education to universities and colleges in England, and ensures that this money is used to deliver the greatest benefit to students and the wider public.