A social enterprise revolution
Both Oxford University and Vodafone have announced new social enterprise programmes for the UK. Such enterprises are worth £60bn, equivalent to 3% of GDP, according to a new study.
The university’s efforts will be conducted via its Oxford University Innovation subsidiary that runs technology transfer and consulting activities. The platform has 25 new businesses in the programme, including one firm using gaming to help healthcare workers reduce child mortality rates in Africa.
Vodafone has launched a new technology initiative together with the Social Tech Trust to fund prototype ideas that help improve health, education, environmental protection or social mobility.
For the company’s Techstarter programme there is a total of £300,000 in funding available for companies with clearly defined social purposes. Four for-profit outfits will receive £35,000 and four not-for-profits will receive the same sum. In addition, there will be two champion’s awards of £10,000 each, voted for by Vodafone employees.
e-Overview: The UK currently boasts some 100,000 social enterprises which employ around 2m people, says the Hidden Revolution report from Social Enterprise UK, Nationwide and the Co-op. Half of social enterprises have developed a new product or service over the past 12 months. “A new wave of social enterprises are starting up at three times the rate of mainstream businesses,” the report says. “We believe these businesses can, and will flourish.”