Student social entrepreneurs win top honours
Press release issued: 23 May 2013
A group of social entrepreneurs from the University of Bristol has won top honours for its work to help students start their own businesses. The Bristol Social Enterprise Society was praised by the National Association of College and University Entrepreneurs (NACUE) for the variety of events and funding opportunities it has organised to incentivise its peers.
The Bristol Social Enterprise Society was praised by the National Association of College and University Entrepreneurs ( NACUE) for the variety of events and funding opportunities it has organised to incentivise its peers.
It faced stiff competition to win the Venture Creation Award at NACUE’s 5th annual Leaders’ Summit but judges singled out the Bristol team for increasing the proportion of businesses supported by the University that now call themselves social enterprises - over 25 per cent compared to just five per cent the previous year.
The society decided that this year's mission would be to improve student's knowledge of what social enterprise is and then to support students to start their own social enterprises.
As a result, the first term was full of talks from social entrepreneurs, events debating social issues and a social enterprise tour of Bristol.
The Bristol Social Enterprise Conference was a huge success, bringing together over 100 speakers, social entrepreneurs and students interested in social issues. This event showcased social enterprises and ran workshops that not only helped students come up with ideas, but also showed them how to make them happen.
Members also worked with the University to promote and distribute funding to help launch some of these ideas. They created the 'Try It' awards - grants of up to £1,500 which were given to 13 students and staff wanting to start social enterprises.
The popular ‘Lion’s Den’ event – like the Dragon’s Den programme but with a twist - saw students and staff pitch their ideas to a panel of experts in a bid to win £300 and further support from the Sustainability Department and Basecamp, the University’s start-up incubator. Eight fantastic businesses pitched and they all received great feedback from the four judges.
The society has also been working with a local school to encourage pupils to improve social problems such as bullying, reducing the amount that students are distracted in lessons and improving communication across different generations.
A six week ‘Ignite Change Programme’ was run with Year 8 students from Brislington Enterprise College, alongside local charity Ablaze, with workshops each week to look at these social issues.
Josiane Smith, President of the Bristol Social Enterprise Society, said: "It's a big deal to win an award from NACUE and we're extremely pleased to have been recognised for some of our work. As the President, I'm very proud of what we've pioneered and accomplished this year. During the next academic year, we plan to be more involved in the community and to work with future generations as well as more student social entrepreneurs."
Enactus Bristol, a brand new society that brings together groups of talented students to create social projects aiming to improve the standard of living and quality of life of disadvantaged people, were the runners-up in the recent Enactus UK National Competition.
Elizabeth Newell (President), Ruth Khaw (Vice-President), Aniket Rajgarhia, Alexander Stratton-Christensen and Greg Southgate presented their two social projects in front of 21 judges in the Rookie League category. The two projects were ReFabricAID and Resolution Restart.
Resolution Restart is a consultancy project working with Kingsdown Sports Centre to help it meet its membership quota while encouraging gym users restart those New Years’ resolutions; and ReFabricAID works with local charity One25 to run craft workshops with female sex workers.
Society member Alexander Stratton-Christensen said: “The national competition was one of the most worthwhile things I have been to this year. It was incredibly inspiring to see what the established teams had achieved and I hope that we will be able to return next year having made an even greater impact that that we have already made over the past seven months.”