The University of York is a pioneering partner in a national social entrepreneurship programme aimed at higher education staff and students.
Developed by the Higher Education Funding Council for England and Wales (HEFCE) and the national social enterprise support organisation UnLtd, the programme aims to embed social entrepreneurship at the heart of the higher education sector.
Social entrepreneurship – setting up self sustaining initiatives to achieve social purposes rather than just make a profit – is a rapidly growing movement in business and higher education. Indeed, One&Other is setup as a Community Interest Community (a form of Social Enterprise) and is guided by clear community objectives now and in the future.
The University of York is one of 56 Higher Education Institutions in England chosen to partner with UnLtd and HEFCE to embed a culture of social entrepreneurship within its institution and across the sector.
Under the programme, York will work with UnLtd to develop a support structure which builds on the range of activities that help staff and students to teach and learn about social enterprise and to start a social venture.
Andrew Ferguson from the University of York’s Careers Service co-ordinated the institution’s proposal to join the initiative, bringing together experience from Departments as diverse as Social Policy, Biology and the York Management School.
Andrew Ferguson said: “The HEFCE UnLtd programme will offer us access to a national network of institutions interested in this agenda as well as external expertise and a funding pot for staff and student initiatives. York has a great track record in engaging staff and students in tackling social issues in innovative ways and this support will enable us to both pick up the pace on this work as well as disseminate it effectively.”
The University’s track record includes a module in the Social Policy degree which includes speakers drawn from the ranks of local social entrepreneurs. It also has a community development fund through the Careers Service which has helped to kick-start long running initiatives such as York Carnival and the award winning ‘Minds in Motion’ scheme, which enables students to work directly with those facing the early onset of Alzheimers.
This year the Careers Service also ran the York Solutions Challenge with the support of Santander, giving students the choice of any issue they felt they could tackle effectively. The winner of the challenge was Shaan Bassi, who won £500 for his innovative HIV awareness campaign which included posters as part of York’s Grand Tour – a visual celebration of the city’s achievements in science and innovation.