The inSpirE Northamptonshire initiative, a major new project delivered in partnership with Northamptonshire County Council and social enterprises, businesses, and public sector organisations throughout the county.
The unique inSpirE initiative supports new and existing social enterprises, and community and voluntary organisations, throughout the county by :
- Providing them with training, development and expert support so they can become more professional and take advantages of the new opportunities that are emerging as a result of the decentralisation agenda to deliver public services.
- Engaging them more effectively with businesses and local authorities
- Enabling volunteers in the county (including our staff and student volunteers) to easily find an organisation in which they can utilize their skills and enthusiasm.
- Enabling the university to work closely with partners to create new markets and investment opportunities for new social enterprise solutions aimed at addressing societal and environmental needs
The inSpirE project, which was initiated by the Professor Nick Petford, Vice Chancellor of the University of Northampton, and the Leader of Northamptonshire County Council, is unashamedly ambitious. Our stated aim for the project is as follows :
“With our local authority, business, and social enterprise partners we are going to improve the economic, social, and cultural life of Northamptonshire, and the physical environment, through support for, and development of a thriving, sustainable and innovative social enterprise sector throughout the county. Northamptonshire will become the ‘Silicon Valley’ of social enterprise in the UK.”
Northampton’s new socially enterprising strategy marks out a new role for a university in the UK. We know that there is some excellent work going on in many other universities that prepares their students to be social entrepreneurs. However, our institution wide, holistic approach is unique and makes us, we think, more relevant to our community than we have been and many other universities are.
Northampton wants its students and graduates to be socially enterprising, continually looking for ways in which both they, and their future employers, can contribute to Northampton wants its students and graduates to be socially enterprising, continually looking for ways in which both they, and their future employers, can contribute to a better society. Will other universities follow our lead?