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Social innovators

Social innovator profiles

In this section we will be featuring social innovators from across the globe who challenge, inspire and act.

Ken Banks

Ken Banks

Social Innovator

Read more about Ken

Ken Banks, who was appointed Visiting Fellow in May 2018, is a British award-winning social entrepreneur, mobile technology and global development expert with an undergraduate major in Social Anthropology with Development Studies. He is best known for developing FrontlineSMS, a mobile messaging platform used today by non-profits in over 190 countries around the world. He is a PopTech Fellow, a Tech Awards Laureate, an Ashoka Fellow and a National Geographic Emerging Explorer. In 2013 he was nominated for the TED Prize. In recognition of his pioneering work, he was presented with the 2017 Eugene L. Lawler Award for Humanitarian Contributions within Computer Science by the Association for Computing Machinery in the USA. In April 2018 he joined UK digital identity startup Yoti as their Head of Social Impact.

Ken is also a published author. His first edited book, The Rise of the Reluctant Innovator, was self-published in late 2013 and came with a Foreword from Archbishop Desmond Tutu. A follow-up, Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation, published by Kogan Page, was released in March 2016. In addition to his pioneering work with mobile technology, Ken is a keynote speaker, thought-leader, consultant, innovator and mentor.

"Today's growing interest in social innovation reflects a wider trend of people becoming increasingly interested in understanding how they might contribute to making the world a better place. Whereas a few years ago the default position for anyone with an idea would be to form a for-profit company and run it for profit, today people are increasingly choosing to solve social and environmental problems and to put purpose before profit. Many of the people I've worked with over the years have chosen this path, but we need more. It's exciting to see Cambridge Judge Business School take up the reigns and design a new Masters Programme around Social Innovation, and I very much look forward to being a part of it."



Carrie Bedingfield

Carrie Bedingfield

Alternative entrepreneur and investor

Read more about Carrie

Carrie is an alternative entrepreneur and investor. Her first business, Onefish Twofish, is now entirely led by its own team and Carrie is investor and/or co-founder in a number of other ventures including lean start up digital product company, Runway

"My belief is that the world needs a complete revolution in how organisations are conceived and run. The old way is an 'or' scenario. "I make money OR I create a purposeful, meaningful business." My way is an 'AND' conversation. "I make money AND I have a purposeful, meaningful business. My vision is that normal companies run by normal people like me and you are the new social business - they do good, are good to work in, make good money."

Watch Carrie's TEDx talk "Why Striving Is Costing Us Everything: The Profit Paradox"


Elisa Birnbaum

Elisa Birnbaum

Co-founder, Publisher & Editor-in-chief of SEE Change magazine based in Canada and a Rothschild Social Entrepreneur Fellow 2014

Read more about Elisa and SEE Change Magazine

SEE Change Magazine is a digital publication of social entrepreneurship and social change. It was founded close to five years ago with a mission to inform, educate, inspire and offer a forum for discourse for anyone who believes in a new way of doing business - one that melds profit and purpose - effecting change and engaging their communities and the world. 

Based in Toronto, Canada, SEE Change's content, contributors and readership defy geographical boundaries in response to a growing interest in this field around the world. The magazine offers a range of content, including in-depth Features, exploring significant issues in the field, Profiles of hardworking social entrepreneurs and innovators on the ground, Interviews with unique entrepreneurs creating impact and How-To articles offering expert tips and advice for those starting and running their own enterprise. 

The magazine also provides book and movie reviews, a jobs section and a video series profiling social entrepreneurs. Invested in furthering the field of social entrepreneurship and social innovation, SEE Change commissions research reports, such as the Failure Report, documenting the perils of running a social enterprise and lessons learned. They've also hosted and moderated panels and events focused on issues of social change. And its editor-in-chief has been a panellist and speaker at various conferences, including at Harvard University.

The magazine's contributors include some of the biggest experts in the field and our pieces continually feature intriguing players in this space, including Kiva, TOM's, Acumen Fund, SocialFinance, government officials, UK's leading legal experts and pioneers of impact investing. Over the years, the magazine has developed strong networks and built collaborative partnerships. Dedicated to providing its growing readership with coverage of issues at the cusp of this field, its reporters travel the world in search of inspirational, hardworking folks to speak with and to learn from. They've attended such prestigious events as the Skoll World Forum, the Social Enterprise World Forum, TedxToronto and the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City, searching for stories. 

SEE Change recognises that the impact of social entrepreneurship is limited without effective storytelling. Stories - and their related resources, expertise and shared learnings - are imperative to validating the efforts of those who use innovation, business acumen and dogged determination to effect change. So they will continue telling stories - and invite you to join their growing community of social innovators and entrepreneurs toward greater impact and social change.   

Subscribe to SEE change's free publication and monthly newsletters via their website

More about Elisa

Elisa works as a journalist, producer and communications consultant. Her portfolio includes articles published in the Globe & Mail, National Post,, Profit Magazine, Lifestyles Magazine and other publications. And for over six years, she's been covering issues in the nonprofit sector as a freelance reporter for President of Elle Communications, Elisa helps her clients-most of whom nonprofits and charities-effectively tell their stories through visual and print mediums. As a producer, Elisa worked on documentaries and current affairs programs at History Television, Discovery Health, TVO and the CBC. Elisa holds a bachelor's degree in political science from Concordia University and an LLB degree from Université de Montréal and Osgoode Hall.


Emily Dunn

Emily Dunning

Social innnovator

Read more about Emily and her current journey

Emily Dunning is a social innnovator focusing on local action to social and environmental issues. Emily is currently travelling across Asia to discover how different people and places understand pressing issues and the innovative solutions they adopt.

Emily was previously Manager of Cambridge's Community Hub which is a catalyst for student action.

Visit Emily's website to follow her journey

View Emily's blog post on The Social Innovation Blog


Sarah Gogel

Sarah Gogel

Founder and Managing Director of Global Potential ; Executive Director of Global Potential France. A Rothschild Social Entrepreneur Fellow 2011

Read more about Sarah

Sarah Gogel, a social entrepreneur, human rights-focused lawyer and licensed social worker, finished her legal studies at Northeastern University School of Law in May 2013, after running Global Potential (GP) for six years in parallel to her studies and work. Since then she has been full-time Executive Director of GP in France which she founded in 2012.

She has her AB In Sociology from Harvard College (2004), a Masters in Social Work from Wurzweiler School of Social Work (2006) and a Masters in Sustainable International Development from the Heller School of Social Policy and Management (2012).

Since 2007, Global Potential has worked with over 3000 youth fellows in six countries and has run seven-week summer development and cultural exchange programs in the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Nicaragua and most recently in Senegal for over 400 youth as part of their intensive 18-month training program in social entrepreneurship, cultural exchange and leadership.

Sarah has in-depth experience working with multiethnic and diverse at-risk populations, specifically with trauma survivors, youth, and migrants. She has worked for 14 years in the fields of development, advocacy and human rights in international and national organisations.

Originally from Paris, France, Sarah is a native French speaker, is fluent in English and Spanish, and speaks Hindi and Urdu. She received the Women in Public Service Fellowship from the US State Department in Paris (2012), was an Ariane de Rothschild Fellow (2011-2012) and was recognised as Boston Hero of the Year in 2010 (Boston Metro). Sarah was a PresenTense Fellow for Social Innovators (2011) and a YouthActionNet Global International Youth Fellow (2009). With Ariane de Rothschild, she developed an innovative revenue generating program within Global Potential that is also rich in pedagogical value to the youth participants.


Lucy Lake

Lucy Lake

Social Innovator

Read more about Lucy

Lucy Lake is CEO of Camfed International, an organisation dedicated to supporting girls through education and young women to step up as entrepreneurs and leaders in Africa. Camfed's model has been acclaimed internationally, most recently by the OECD which has officially recognized Camfed as best practice in taking development innovation to scale. Lucy took up the position of CEO in 2012 having previously been Director of Programmes and Deputy Executive Director for over 18 years. During this time, Lucy led Camfed's development as a transformative model of investment in girls' education through which its clients - as educated young women - step up as activists and entrepreneurs and join forces with local and national government authorities to lead change for the younger generation of girls. Since taking on the role of CEO, Lucy has led Camfed's major growth - more than quadrupling the number of girls receiving support; in 2014 alone, more than 2.3 million young people directly benefited. 

Lucy is a founding member and former Co Chair of the Global Advisory Committee of the United Nations Girls' Education Initiative (UNGEI), and regularly engages with policymakers on strategies to scale action for girls' education. Lucy recently spoke on 'unleashing the power of girls' education' at the 2015 Skoll World Forum alongside Graça Machel. Previously, Lucy has been named as one of 50 Women to Watch by the Guardian and Entrepreneur of the Year in the New Statesman.

"For me, social innovation lies in creating the most effective vehicle for social change - an organisation that can provide a framework of support for marginalised young people and simultaneously underpin a movement that will transform prospects for generations to come. It's exciting to see the Centre for Social Innovation at CJBS bringing a focus to these issues and new ways of doing things."


Stefan van der Fluit

Stefan van der Fluit

Social Entrepreneur, CEO & Co-Founder of Nuklius, a platform which helps entrepreneurs create startups.

Read more about Stefan

Stefan van der Fluit is an entrepreneur passionate about building startup communities and helping entrepreneurs realise their own ideas into startups. He grew up in Silicon Valley and Bergen, a town in the Netherlands. Stefan started his first company at the age of 15, a web development company serving customers in the Amsterdam area. In the first few weeks of his undergraduate degree at the University of Warwick he co-founded Unibubble, a campus discovery tool.

Stefan is currently working on Nuklius, a platform which helps entrepreneurs realise their ideas by matching them with the people needed to realise them.

He was recognised in late 2014 as 'Entrepreneur of the Week' by HRH The Duke of York. Nuklius is currently part of Accelerate Cambridge.

"I think that with the opening of the Centre for Social Innovation, CJBS is recognising the importance of social entrepreneurship and the benefits its can bring. They are setting the example."


Esmee Wilcox

Esmee Wilcox

Public Sector Innovator

Read more about Esmee

Esmee Wilcox is Head of Moving into Adulthood - a local government led partnership to improve experiences and opportunities for young adults with disabilities. Straddling Children's and Adults Services in Suffolk County Council, the programme involves commissioners, practitioners, community groups and educational establishments looking at how to make change in complex systems. Esmee's team won the Behaviour Change category at the 2016 Municipal Journal Awards, for their application of behavioural insights to a complex area of social policy.

Esmee is a public sector innovator, with experience of working on major government transformation programmes, both at the heart of Whitehall, in the hinterland of regional delivery and now in local government. Her interest in organisations and innovation developed during a stint at the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit over 10 years ago, where she was engaged in bringing together academics, consultants and civil servants. She worked on the government's cross-departmental Disability Strategy at this time.

Esmee has published an essay on the Glory of Failure, exploring a governmental perspective on the impact of our attitudes towards failure. She holds a Masters in Professional Development from Middlesex University and a Bachelors Degree in History and Politics from the University of Durham.

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