A memorable fortnight for We Do Ideas

It’s been a really busy few weeks for We Do Ideas. Since concluding the successful pilot contract with Northampton University we have been busy reviewing and consolidating our adventures in ideas generation in order to produce an Ideation Toolkit. Most importantly We Do Ideas has been busy hobnobbing with some very influential characters and having some exciting developments.   

We Do Ideas kicked off its memorable fortnight by officially setting up as an independent business. After an invaluable incubation period under the tender loving care of the Young Foundation venture support team We Do Ideas Ltd is now a fully fledged grown up and has some great plans for projects in 2012.  

Next up We Do Ideas took a lecture to budding entrepreneurs at Kings College London College on Friday to raise awareness on Social Enterprise models. A few days later, the We Do Ideas intern Rebecca Birch helped to spread the We Do word at none other than 10 Downing Street where she was lucky to support Tony Colville in facilitating Business Generation Model canvas workshops and networking with the Big Society Award winners. Some inspiring conversations were had with charities, social enterprises and corporates alike about ideas generation and the role social enterprise in today’s financial climate. 

Later the same week, We Do Ideas Director Rebecca Coppock and intern Rebecca B were fortunate to meet with HRH Princess Anne at the NIACE conference on Learning for Citizenship. Princess Anne took a keen interest in the work being carried out by We Do Ideas and both Rebecca’s took part in a lively round table discussion headed by HRH around the role of learning in supporting environments for active citizenship in the UK.

 Keep posted for more We Do Ideas news, it’s a very exciting time for us!’

In the mean time-please Support We Do Ideas Ltd. We could get up to £20,000 to start making young people’s social enterprise ideas a reality.

Check out this idea and back it with your stakes http://www.thestake.co.uk/ideas/help-young-people-to-make-entrepreneurial-solutions-to-social-problems-by-supporting-them-to-start-their-own-business.

The We Do Ideas Team.


‘Unlocking the Potential of Social Entrepreneurship in Higher Education’

‘Unlocking the Potential of Social Entrepreneurship in Higher Education’

A Summary of UnLtd Report

Social Entrepreneurs are the driving force of a wave of change across the world. A third of all new enterprise started in the UK are now focussed on a social mission. Higher education institutions around the worlds are discovering that their students and staff want tot connect with this growing movement. Social enterprise enhances teaching, research impact and staff development. In a tough employment market, social entrepreneurship enables students to demonstrate evidence of leadership alongside their academic studies, a vital component to securing a job. It also opens up a route to job creation and over 80% intend to continue running their social venture when they graduate. HEFCE, as an advocate of all that is good and distinctive and good in Higher Education worked together with UnLtd to develop the Higher Education Social Entrepreneurship Awards programme- inspiring 70 intuitions to take part and supporting 200 social entrepreneurs in the 18 months since start up. The report shares the learning gained through delivery of the project.

The Demand

* ALL HELs to participate

* To have broad appeal- Awards represented 70% students and 30% staff from across creative fields and conventional business backgrounds.

The Value

* Sustainable Social and Economic outcomes- Social ventures running 6 months to 1year had on average 540 beneficiaries, 12 volunteer opportunities and 2 jobs. Half had raised an average of £5, 800 in additional income. Impact was 56% in local community and 31% for their HEI. 90% felt more equipped to run a social venture as a result of the project.

* Enhancing the student experience- 75% of student award winners feel they have improved employability. 63% feel their venture benefits their studies. 83% plan to continue the venture after University.

* Personal and professional development of staff. 89% of staff award winners feel their venture is beneficial for their role i.e. enhances teaching methods, research impact and extends responsibilities.

The Challenges

* To social venture creation:  Challenges include- time and priorities, gaining recognition, finding support and navigating the structure and processes of HEI’s. Findings=HEIs to provide dedicated support to social entrepreneurs.

* To a culture of  social entrepreneurship. Only a small proportion of HEIs are investing in social entrepreneurship and leading a culture of social venture creation. Student and staff energy will not create a culture of social entrepreneurship on its own. Leadership,

strategy, recognition, infrastructure, resource and support with HEIs is essential to promote this culture.

The Recommendations

To Staff and Student Social Entrepreneurs

The success of Social Enterprise within HE is dependent upon visible social ventures working within HEIs. Report recommends:

1. For staff and students to promote their venture and successes within departments and across HEIs.

2. Social Entrepreneurs to create a local network to share experiences, challenges and improve support  for social venture creation.

To HEIs and the Sector

Overall, HEIs which invest in social entrepreneurship will find untapped demand, attracting further funding and more students. Social enterprise enhances the student experience and increases employment outcomes. To enhance these benefits the report recommends:

3. HEIs to tailor existing enterprise resources, support and infrastructure to social venture creation (E.g. knowledge exchange, student enterprise, volunteering/public engagement functions). This should include an individual to champion and promote social enterprise

4. HEIs to promote a culture of entrepreneurship relevant to their staff, students and existing culture of activity.

5. Cross- Sector networks should identify ways to build on momentum developed around social enterprise.

To the Government

The programme has proved that social enterprise adds value to HE and vice versa. The government needs to consider how best to create an environment within which social entrepreneurship within HE can thrive. The report recommends

6. Government incentivise HEIs to promote and support Social Enterprise.

7. Government recognise successful social enterprise and social venture creation within HEIs.

The Next Steps

Results from the HE SE awards demonstrate the value of continuing momentum for social enterprise within HEIs. In future, HEIs need to develop support mechanisms to connect with the energy of students and staff and imbed social enterprise within the sector.

For Full Report See Here.. http://www.unltd.org.uk/template.php?ID=32

We Do Ideas At Work

Ideas Spark at Social Enterprise Development Event…

Students, staff, local businesses and members of the community came together to develop their ideas for social enterprises.

(R-L) Stuart Thomasson of the Young Foundation and Seun Oshinakie of Brighter Steppings

‘Spark Your Idea – an introduction to social venturing’ welcomed around 60 delegates, all with an interest in generating ideas for a social enterprise, or who had already submitted their ideas to the University. They took part in practical exercises on the day to define their ideas to help them submit a business plan for a social enterprise. Support came from Stuart Thomasson of The Young Foundation and Seun Oshinaike of Brighter Steppings.

The next step for successful candidates will be for them to pitch at the We Do Ideas/Spark Your Idea investment event at The University of Northampton on Thursday 17 November, where the University will be making up to 30 investments in social enterprise development from a £20,000 ‘investment pot’. This date is national Social Enterprise Day and is also part of Global Entrepreneurship Week.

Wray Irwin commented:

‘We’ll be looking to make investments to social enterprises who demonstrate how their ideas can help the University achieve its strategic vision. Pitchers have to have links with community groups already and four partners when submitting. We are looking forward to what promises to be a very exciting day for the University’s social enterprise ambitions.’ Wray Irwin

We Do Ideas is officially on the map!

As part of the Centre for Social Inovation Report on Camps and Competitions, We Do Ideas, or in this case its older brother, I Do Ideas, has been recognised as one of the global points of inspiration for open methods of social innovation. We have done it! Looking at the report, it highlights the uniqueness of the no-paper application process to get young people to make a positive change to their community. The idea of uploading a video and pitching an idea has shown to be quite popular and allowed the participants to get their passion across and use their creativity to push their idea forward.

I Do Ideas worked with young people aged between 13 and 19 to get them to think about some of the ways that they can help their local community, supported them by providing training and bespoke help and finally encouraging them to pitch for funding. Over the course of the first round, we were lucky enough to fund over 30 individuals with up to £1000 to get their project up and running. All of this work was done with the help of 02 Think Big and Unlimited and done under the umbrella of The Youth of Today Youth Leadership Fund with the Young Foundation. With this pilot, we knew that were definitely onto something and that there was a real appetite for young people to go their own way and tackle ever present social issues in their own innovative way. Thus, We Do Ideas was born!

We Do Ideas is a movement that encourages young people and students between the ages of 16 to 25 to set up innovative solutions to society’s growing social problems. We believe that the new generation hold the answers to today’s problems and we hope to tap into their creativity in order to fulfil our mission. As the report says, “there is no formula for innovation – it just appears” and we want to stimulate it in any way that we can. At the moment, We Do Ideas is working with the staff and students at Northampton University to inspire, create, support, help and fund the ideas that they have through the Social Entrepreneur in Residence programme.

We are flying the flag for social entreprise! With the ever increasing tuition fees and bills that students face, we want them to be able to support themselves, whilst doing something that they enjoy and also making a difference in their community. Whether that be feeding the homeless, making cupcakes or just a classic sponsored silence, we hope to get people thinking differently. With this rebranding of our current work, we not only want to build up on what we have already learnt, but to take it to a new audience and greatly diversify and improve the quality of the people that work with us. We are not just social innovators, but we want to be social pioneers and we hope with the students of Northampton behind us, nothing can stop us!

We Do Ideas…Do You?

Guardian promotes social enterprise in Universities…

Check out the highlights of the Guardian discussion around how Universities can become more entrepreneurial….


Associate Director of the University of Northampton quotes;

Giving students the chance to set up their own social enterprise or be part of existing enterprises adds to the overall student experience of Higher Education’

What Do You Think?

Freshers Week

Hope everyone has settled in and making the most of Freshers Fortnight!!

No doubt you all saw us at Freshers weekend at the We Do Ideas Stall, Stopping you in the que or on the way to the canteen. You couldnt miss us!! It was a massive success with over 200 of you signing up and over 100 ideas.

But its not too late…  We are on park campus today!!  

Come get involved with the other 200 freshers and of course for more freebies!

There is also lots going on over the next few weeks. Check our Whats on and Get Involved!!!

We Do Ideas…Do You?



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Introducing ‘We Do Ideas’ powered and pioneered by The University of Northampton in partnership with The Young Foundation 

We Do Ideas provides oppotunity for every student at Northampton. Aiming to promote, showcase and fund your social entrepreneurial talents and ideas. All social enteprises start with an idea and we know you have the ideas. We Do ideas is the your chance to prove it by taking the lead in the ‘raising the bar’ strategy to get Northampton as the top University in the UK for social enterprise by 2015. Hand in hand together we can become a catalyst for cultural change and bring positive innovation and social enterprise to everyday university life providing us with  new social enterprises, services and ventures to meet the growing challenges of the 21st century

At its core We do ideas is exactly what it says, the place that brings together like minded and not so like minded individuals to ‘do ideas’. This is the place to be if you want to be more than an individual at university and become part of ‘We’. Check our about section to find out more, meet our team, come see as freshers fair and around the uni. There are loads of activities going on in the next few weeks so get involved!

We Do Ideas…Do You?