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Supporting Social Entrepreneurs Seminar

Join the Cambridge Social Ventures team at a one-day seminar hosted by the Cambridge Centre for Social Innovation to think about some of the issues we face in supporting social entrepreneurs:

  • What have we learned from helping social ventures get started and grow?
  • What are the ‘tricky bits’, such as finance and legal structures, that are different for social ventures?
  • How can we reach more women entrepreneurs and people from diverse backgrounds?
  • How can we ensure that social entrepreneurs create a legacy of impact?

At Cambridge Social Ventures, we’ve supported more than 500 social entrepreneurs to get started and grow. Our top 50 ventures have raised more than £5 million in investment or grants, and have doubled the number of beneficiaries they reach.

Come and learn from our successes – and our mistakes – at this one-day seminar in Cambridge. Meet others working in the social enterprise support space and take home some practical tips that you can use to help entrepreneurs create social change.

The social sector is growing and we hope this event will foster new relationships amongst a community of like-minded professionals. We can learn from each other more about what social entrepreneurs need to thrive.

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.

Social entrepreneurs and students are also welcome to attend.

We are still confirming the speaker lineup but here are some of the themes we will cover.

Social business models

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

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

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

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?

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 seminar. 

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