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Minister for Civil Society joins cohorts for first day of new social venture programme

Outstanding entrepreneurs with ambitions to set up or grow an existing business dedicated to making a positive social impact have attended their first day of training on the new Cambridge Social Ventures programme.

Social Incubator East launch dayThe programme aims to boost the growth of social businesses in the East of England.

The launch day was held on Thursday 17 July 2014 at the Cambridge-based Future Business Centre with training provided by the University of Cambridge Judge Business School (CJBS). The new Minister for Civil Society Brooks Newmark attended one of the day’s sessions, marking his first visit in his new role.

Cambridge Social Ventures is a programme that provides access to business support, loans and workspace for ambitious entrepreneurs to help them fulfil their potential, grow their businesses and make the world a better place.

The first cohort comprises eleven entrepreneurs who have all set-up ventures dedicated to social change across a range of industries including: Plate Gain, a waste monitoring service which aims to cut food waste in the hospitality industry; Turtle Dove, dedicated to helping young women gain access to training, employment, and education; DNAdigest, which secures data and shares knowledge to speed diagnosis and treatment of genetic diseases; and ON DEMAND, a new car- and lift-sharing venture that plans to significantly impact carbon emissions and road safety.

The participating ventures were selected from over 50 businesses that took part in the first stage of the application process, the Social Venture Weekend on 20-22 June at Cambridge Judge Business School, during which all the attending entrepreneurs received business training, support and advice.

Cambridge Social Ventures Programme Director Belinda Bell is pleased with the programme’s successful start and the budding future of its cohorts:

Our launch day for the cohort was a really exciting event – a group of fantastic social ventures coming together and making plans to scale over the year ahead. Brooks Newmark’s visit underlines the significance of social entrepreneurs and the contributions they can make to both our society and our economy.

The Cambridge Social Ventures programme is a partnership between Cambridge Judge Business School, Allia, Foundation East and Keystone Development Trust, following a successful bid for £900,000 funding from the Big Lottery Fund to set up and grow social ventures in the East of England.