University of Cambridge

Starting Point

Model: Find, Fund and Support

Social enterprise is becoming an increasingly prominent and valued dimension of Cambridge University's well-developed enterprise culture. There are four distinct partners within the university: the Public Engagement Team, Cambridge Hub, the Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning (Judge Business School) and the University Careers Service. They all collaborated this year to support over fifteen Award Winners as part of the UnLtd/HEFCE programme. This combination of perspectives, resources and areas of expertise has been the core strength of the Programme - a strength further marked out by the participation of Cambridge Hub, a dedicated student-led organisation.

Delivery Approach

The Cambridge Hub is the local branch of Student Hubs, a national charity committed to increasing student involvement in sustainable social action. Supporting the Public Engagement Team with the Programme's operational delivery, Cambridge Hub has ensured the presence of a strong student voice throughout the Programme.

This collaborative relationship has been made possible by the close cooperation of the University's Head of Public Engagement (Nicola Buckley) and Public Engagement Officer (Rachel Teubner), the Manager of Cambridge Hub (Emily Dunning) and the Hub Student Coordinating Committee's representative for social enterprise (Rebecca Trevalyan).

Outcomes and Impact

The value of this collaborative approach will undoubtedly evolve over time, but already it is producing tangible benefits. Rebecca leveraged her knowledge of student volunteering and enterprise networks to publicise the Programme organically, attending multiple student society events to explain and promote the Awards to relevant audiences. The Hub adapted its "HubWorks" workshops for the purpose of social enterprise, building on its existing support tools to enhance the training available to Award Winners. In fact, such was the popularity of the workshop that a number of students not currently participating in the Programme - but with a strong interest in social enterprise - chose to attend. In turn, this extended the Programme's ripple effect. Student input of this nature, combined with the institutional knowledge, networks and financing of the Public Engagement Team, Careers Service and Judge Business School, was embedded within the Programme from its earliest stages and, moving ahead, will remain a vibrant and growing aspect of the Programme.

The Future

There remain plenty of opportunities and challenges ahead for the Programme's engagement with students and student-led organisations. After a fantastic contribution this year, Rebecca will be moving on to be replaced by a new social enterprise representative on the Hub's Student Coordinating Committee. However, this annual handover is one which the Hub is well-equipped and experienced to handle. The Hub will be working to engage the full set of Committee members with the Programme next year, opening up new student networks and resources to feed into the existing support on offer. The outcome will be an exciting Programme in which students play an active role as both Award Winners and support agents helping to build Cambridge University's social enterprise ecosystem.