‘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

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