As well as teaching and researching, the Cambridge Centre for Social Innovation is committed to making real change through continuously engaging with social innovators and ventures. The Centre supports social ventures to start up and grow and also helps student innovators to access the Cambridge network.
Support of social ventures
The Centre for Social Innovation supports innovators within the University and beyond through informed research, timely information, projects and events delivered in collaboration with partner organisations.
Cambridge Social Ventures supports a whole range of businesses that have positive social and environmental impacts. Their ventures work in diverse fields such as health, transport, housing, ageing and education. They range from local to global in scale, and include technology start-ups, public sector, community organisations, university spinouts and everything in between. Cambridge Social Ventures’ programmes are designed for people who will drive their businesses forward to create real, scaleable, lasting social or environmental change.
Cambridge Social Ventures offers a regular Social Venture Weekend, open to all, as well as a custom-designed 12-month programme that nurtures and enables social innovations to fulfil their potential. Mentoring, business support and space is available to local social ventures through this programme.
Founded by entrepreneur, Carrie Bedingfield, 50th Generation is a business incubator based on a new ‘operating system’ for private business based on purpose as the source of future value – not a trade off against making money today. “When we pursue purpose not revenue, we create companies that spin out value – for 50 generations.”
Business Weekly’s Awards
Categories include Start-up of the Year, Cambridge Graduate Business of the Year, Engineering Excellence, Disruptive Technology, International Trade Champion, Life Science Innovation, Cambridge Judge Business School Woman Entrepreneur of the Year, The Kate Gross Award for Social Enterprise.
The CleanTech Challenge is a student competition jointly hosted by London Business School and University College London, where students from top business and engineering schools compete in cross-functional teams. The objective of the Challenge is to identify and reward innovative clean technology ideas that have been taken from a concept phase to a stage in which they would ideally attract Series A funding or otherwise be self-sustainable.
Social Enterprise UK Awards
Social Enterprise UK supports business with a social or environmental mission. This organisation runs the annual UK Social Enterprise Awards to recognise high achieving organisations and people.
UnLtd, the Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs in UK, supports a movement of people who can pass on their own skills and experience gained from establishing or supporting a social venture with financial awards of up to £500.
Support of University of Cambridge students and staff social ventures
The Centre for Social Innovation and CJBS faculty support students at the University of Cambridge to develop and implement social innovation projects or social ventures. Students and staff can also benefit from the resources made available by the Enterprise and Innovation Network and the Entrepreneurship Centre.
The University Enterprise Network is for students and staff at the University of Cambridge who are interested in enterprise and innovation. It provides links to the different ways you can get involved in enterprise and innovation activities at Cambridge, such as learning new skills, attending events, researching this topic, working for a start-up, starting your own business, or getting the results of your research applied in industry.
As well as the Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, there are other University departments and networks that can support staff and students to start their own enterprise.
Cambridge University Entrepreneurs Ideas Take Flight Competition
Cambridge University Entrepreneurs (CUE) run one of the most successful business creation competitions in the world. Since 1999 CUE has evolved to being a key part of the University’s ecosystem for supporting and accelerating entrepreneurship and innovation. The competition is open to entrants in three areas: Science and Technology, Social Enterprise and Software.
Student societies with social impact focus
Students from the University of Cambridge can get additional assistance through student societies as well as the other CJBS initiatives.
Cambridge Hub is transforming students’ involvement in social and environmental challenges in Cambridge and around the world. We are a catalyst, facilitating more students to do more, more effectively and for longer. We inspire students about their power and potential to shape a better world; connect them to opportunities to make a difference during their time at university, and support them to become leaders in their future lives and careers.
Cambridge Hub offers a diverse programme of activities around social enterprise. We inspire students to engage in social enterprise through talks and workshops. We connect students to opportunities to make a difference through offering real consultancy experience, internships with social enterprises and access to a network of local social entrepreneurs. We support students to set up their own social enterprises through the Cambridge University Social Entrepreneurs Award scheme, as well as weekly training, mentoring and one-to-one support.
The Social Innovation Programme offers students the chance to address social and environmental challenges in the local area, through research, consultation, critical thinking and project development. Students will receive core skills training on areas such as effective leadership and project management. Students will then work in teams alongside community partners or initiatives, acting as external consultants to propose and implement an innovative solution to a problem.
Ultimately, the programme is designed to bring together a dual positive outcome: a better society now, with projects designed to meet community needs, and in the future, as students are more aware of social issues, and empowered to create positive change. For all challenges, students will be working closely with the community partner, developing skills related to problem solving, meeting clients’ needs and developing and presenting innovative solutions in an engaging manner. This term, students will be working with Find a Cure, Cambridge Citizens Advice Bureau and Cambridge Carbon Footprint.
Cambridge Development Initiative trains small teams of volunteers to implement sophisticated and innovative development solutions in Dar es Salaam. Their holistic approach includes Entrepreneurship, Health, Engineering and Education projects so that development and real progress can be supported in an integrated manner.
The goals of these projects include improving access to primary care by encouraging entrepreneurial models of health delivery, piloting the first business model for simplified sewerage in East Africa, testing a school development model for improvement of underprivileged schools and equip young innovators and networks with the necessary entrepreneurship skills.
There are people who want to save the world and there are people who want great personal success. Nowadays most of us want to try and do both. Beyond Profit is the place to find out how to achieve this. Our mission is to inspire and support students to make the world a better place through their career or through entrepreneurship. Our success is based on helping students to get their ideal jobs and to turn their ideas into businesses.
Beyond Profit is a careers and entrepreneurship society providing a student forum for social enterprise. Our mission is to inspire and support students to create social impact through their careers or entrepreneurship. Our success is based on encouraging students to think in an innovative way in the face of social issues and turn their ideas into careers and businesses. Beyond Profit offers a forum for social enterprise idea generation in the Think Tank series, and our social Business Course provides business basics with a social twist to people from a non-business background.