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Supporting Social Entrepreneurs Symposium

The symposium is hosted by Cambridge Social Ventures which is part of the Cambridge Centre for Social Innovation and will introduce new approaches to supporting ambitious social entrepreneurs and developing the 'extrapreneur' community.

Join us in Cambridge to think about some of the issues we face in supporting social entrepreneurs:

  • How can we better support social entrepreneurs to get started and grow?
  • How can we develop the ecosystem that supports social entrepreneurs?
  • How can we organise and innovate as ‘extrapreneurs’ who support social entrepreneurs?

The symposium will offer the opportunity to meet others who work in the ‘extrapreneurial’ space, developing support mechanisms for the ecosystems and platforms that shape social change.

This professional learning and networking event will bring together people from across the social enterprise ecosystem:

  • Business incubators and business support professionals wanting to work with social ventures
  • People in the public sector looking to support social entrepreneurs in the community
  • Universities and educational institutions responding to student-led demand for further teaching in these areas.

At Cambridge Social Ventures, we've supported more than 500 social entrepreneurs to get started and grow. Come and hear what we’ve learned over the past three years, and how you can apply that to your own business support.

We also hope to learn from you about what social entrepreneurs need and how the University of Cambridge can support the growth of the social sector. This sector is growing and we hope to foster new relationships amongst a community of like-minded professionals.

A full programme will be provided once available.


Social business models

Speakers: Dr Neil Stott and Professor Paul Tracey

Social entrepreneurs may use different business models than mainstream ventures, with different considerations. This session will outline some of the most common models in the sector based on the typology laid out by Kim Alter (2007). It will build on this with the framework described in Cambridge research (Stott and Tracey, 2016) of intrapreneurship, entrepreneurship, and extrapreneurship in fostering an environment where social innovators flourish.

Social finance

Speaker: Belinda Bell

There is a considerable amount of socially-motivated capital available for investable social ventures. This session will outline the emerging field of social finance, pointing out potential sources and suitability for different enterprises. This session will build on teaching developed for the Master of Studies in Social Innovation at Cambridge Judge Business School and ongoing research.

Governance and power

Speaker: Karen Anderson

Social ventures use the full range of available legal structures to run their businesses, from companies to registered societies, co-operatives to charities. Matters of governance, power and control are particularly important as we grow ventures that create legacy. This session will focus on helping participants understand the decisions that social entrepreneurs need to take.

Social impact assessment and Theory of Change

Speaker: to be confirmed

To be credible as a social venture it’s important to measure and track your impact. However, this often proves to be harder than anticipated.

What do we know about social entrepreneurs & how to support them?

Speakers: Dr Neil Stott and Belinda Bell

In many ways, social entrepreneurs are just the same as regular entrepreneurs, and in many ways they are very different. Based on our own data and evidence of success we will outline some of the characteristics of social entrepreneurs and of well-designed support.

The Cambridge Centre for Social Innovation at Cambridge Judge Business School acts as a platform for research and engagement with social innovators, academia and policy in the UK and across the world. Its primary focus is to promote and engage with social innovators and create and support social ventures and projects. A key part of this work is the operation of Cambridge Social Ventures, which runs an incubator and other practical support programmes for social entrepreneurs.

Over the last three years Cambridge Social Ventures have run ten Social Venture Weekends, which provide two and a half days of intense training for early stage social entrepreneurs. We’ve hit on a model that works, and the social entrepreneurs who attend tell us that 

Our workshops consistently reach a diverse audience, with 60 per cent women and 29 per cent people from minority ethnic backgrounds.


Date: 24 July 2017
Venue: Cambridge Judge Business School

Visit the University's Online Store to register for the symposium. Student rates are available. Please note that bookings for this event are non-refundable.

Ticket prices