Manchester Enterprise Centre (MEC) has made ten UnLtd Social Enterprise Awards worth £15,000 to budding student social entrepreneurs from across the University, including a number from MBS. The winning ideas were inspired by a wide variety of social issues with proposed solutions including a social media platform for postgraduate researchers to disseminate their findings; advice and support for people with autism; and a mobile app to enhance the training of doctors, interns and medical students.
The awards, which were open to students and recent graduates, were given out in one of two categories which reflect the development stage of the idea. Three ‘Try It’ Awards of £500 or £750 were given to social entrepreneurs in order to find out if their idea is viable, learn more about what is needed to make it succeed and try the project on a small scale initially; and seven ‘Do It’ Awards of between £1,500 and £2,500 were given to more advanced stage entrepreneurial ideas in order to allow them to grow further.
This is the second set of UnLtd Social Enterprise Awards made by MEC, with £13,000 being awarded to four students in 2013. Award manager Dr Martin Henery said: “The increased number of awards presented this year reflects the increasing interest in social enterprise and the ability to deliver real social value in a sustainable way. We are particularly pleased to be able to award three ‘Try It’ awards that are designed to allow individuals to test whether they have fully understood and characterised a real social problem and whether their solution will effectively address it.”
The UnLtd Social Enterprise Awards are part of a series of opportunities offered by Manchester Enterprise Centre in order to support potential student entrepreneurs to get their businesses off the ground. This year’s Venture Out, the University’s annual student ideas competition, will be launching on 8 October, at the first of this academic year’s Ideas Factory guest entrepreneur event series. A number of the recipients of the ‘Do It’ UnLtd Social Enterprise Awards entered the University’s annual business start-up competition Venture Further.