Three social entrepreneurs pioneering new approaches to health, law and community development have been recognised with the 2021 Cambridge Social Innovation Prize, awarded by Trinity Hall and the Cambridge Centre for Social Innovation at the University of Cambridge.
These £10,000 awards are made annually to extraordinary founder-CEOs of scale-up social enterprises to support their growth as leaders. Mentoring from experts at Cambridge Judge Business School and support from an expanding community of social innovators at Trinity Hall will help them to develop the skills, resources and networks they need to create more impact from their work.
As we move from crisis into the rebuilding phase, the winning entrepreneurs are changing the way we approach the delivery of vital services, making them affordable, accessible, and embedding social purpose at the core of business.
Recent research from Social Enterprise UK has found that social enterprises have proven remarkably resilient during the pandemic, leading the way with innovative business practices and deep community engagement. These three winners exemplify the creativity of this sector, and its capacity to address the inequalities laid bare by COVID-19.
The 2021 winners
Kim Griffin, GriffinOT
GriffinOT is making occupational therapy (OT) accessible and affordable by training teachers and parents in OT tools and strategies to support children with sensory issues, motor skill or developmental delays, autism, dyspraxia and ADHD. While waiting lists for children’s occupational therapy are surging, Kim’s online resources have reached more than 250,000 people, including daily exercises to help parents support their children’s development at home through lockdown.
Sashy Nathan, Commons Legal
Commons Legal is a specialist criminal defence law firm with social justice at the heart. Their team of lawyers ensure representation is provided at police stations, in courts and at appeals. Founded uniquely as a co-operative and a community interest company, all profits are ploughed back into the firm, giving their clients the opportunity to receive legal advice and representation no matter how their case is funded.
Lisa Stepanovic, Social Ark
Born and raised a working-class East Londoner, Lisa is driven to address the inequalities on her doorstep. Her business training and expert mentoring has supported hundreds of marginalised young people from under-resourced East London communities. Social Ark is an entrepreneurial programme truly rooted in ‘place’ and locally led, creating a springboard of positive action that has resulted in sustainable change.
About the prize
The Cambridge Social Innovation Prize is the cornerstone of an ongoing collaboration between Cambridge Centre for Social Innovation at Cambridge Judge Business School and Trinity Hall, one of the oldest Colleges at the University. Supported by a generous donation from University of Cambridge (Trinity Hall) alumnus Graham Ross Russell. Together, the Business School and the College are working to foster an interest in social innovation and entrepreneurship among students, fellows and alumni, encouraging them to create new businesses and to pursue careers rooted in social and environmental impact.