University of Northampton


Model: Find, Fund & Support

The University of Northampton delivered a Find, Fund and Support programme with an overall Awards pot of £50,000, delivered through The Enterprise Club which reaches all faculties across the campus and has accessible reach and holistic approaches to inspiring and supporting enterprise in all its forms to staff, students and local entrepreneurs or would-be entrepreneurs. The Award money supported 24 entrepreneurs through 'The Big Bonanza'.

The University of Northampton have taken a strategic approach to innovating, inspiring and investing in social entrepreneurship for several years. This work has been driven by Vice Chancellor Nick Petford along with a senior management team at the University who are highly skilled, knowledgeable and networked in this field. This has resulted in the University being recognised as playing a leading role in developing social enterprise in the HE sector, whilst boosting the social economy itself. Through the '£1 Billion Challenge' the University is encouraging the UK's Higher Education sector to spend at least £1 billion of the £7 billion per annum it spends on procuring goods and services from external suppliers, with social enterprises. It is also recognised globally and has become the first Ashoka U 'Changemaker Campus' in the UK; recognised for the excellence of their extensive social enterprise, innovation and entrepreneurship provision.

They are growing transformational partnerships, regionally, nationally and internationally, to develop a culture of social entrepreneurship and the ecosystem to enable this to thrive. One national example of this is their partnership with Exemplas to develop Inspire2Enterprise ( a national support service for the social enterprise sector providing information, specialist advice, training, consulting, coaching and mentoring to new and existing social enterprises and social entrepreneurs. Internationally, they also partnered with and hosted the inaugural E3M European Conference - Growing Successful Social Enterprise: Lessons and Opportunities, a major European conference and exhibition with 250 delegates from 14 different countries attended.

In order to progress this agenda, the University of Northampton have developed more advanced approaches to Social Investment in the HE sector and have secured social investment as well as acting as an 'Investor' with a range of enterprises, including the Award winning Goodwill Solutions CIC. Working in partnership with UnLtd as part of the HE support programme they were able to raise awareness of the potential and opportunities for developing social enterprise in the HE sector at a national conference attended by a third of all Higher Education Institutions.

The University has been pleased to receive applications from both staff and students covering a wide range of areas and social challenges. They welcome the opportunity to continue partnering with UnLtd and helping continue partnership with UnLtd and offer help to potential social entrepreneurs through the Big Bonanza programme alongside other strands of activity within their embedded social enterprise agenda.