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What is social enterprise?

What is social enterprise?

A social enterprise is a business which aims to help people, communities or the planet. The Big Issue, One Water, Divine Chocolate and Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen restaurant are all examples. According to government statistics in 2010 there are 68,000 social enterprises in the UK.

Get involved

From Friday 11th - Sunday 13th January we're running QHack: Social Enterprise - a three-day bootcamp designed for bright students who want to learn how to turn ideas into social enterprises. It promises to be a fun, intense and transformative combination of expert workshops, practical exercises, group work and general hustle. And everything will culminate in a final pitch night with funding prizes. Learn more and apply - deadline Tuesday 1st January, midnight - here.

How is a social enterprise different to any other business?

The classic business model is usually about creating products and services to sell in order to make money. The aims of a social enterprise are two-fold. Firstly, they want to address a social or environmental issue. Secondly, just like your average business, they want to make a profit. Much of the profit is then reinvested in the venture. They base their success on measurable changes to an issue in society together with generating a profit to sustain the business. 

How are QM students making a difference through social enterprise?

Social enterprises often start with identifying a problem or noticing a need in the community. QM students are already making an impact in the local community – through work, volunteering and societies. Students have also developed community projects through ENACTUS and have started their own social enterprise ventures:

Jonathan MaCarthy and Junior Ogunyemi run a social enterprise called Junior Entrepreneur . Jonathan is a current QM student and Junior is a QM alumnus who has already written a book called How to be a student entrepreneur. They run a business that delivers seminars and workshops to students at schools and universities, teaching them how to be more entrepreneurial as well as helping them develop their life skills. Jonathan and Junior were awarded £4200 to grow their social enterprise through our funding awards. Funding is now available to help students test out a business solution to a social problem or issue, to help take your idea to the next step. 

How can I find out more, and get involved?

  • Attend one of our ideas workshops for social entrepreneurs.
  • Book a 1-to-1 enterprise appointment to discuss initial ideas by calling 0207 882 8533.
  • Test an idea or develop an existing one by applying for funding.
  • Keep an eye out for The East London Social Hack, our weekend social-enterprise bootcamp every spring. Sign up to our newsletter to be kept in the loop.
  • Join ENACTUS to meet like-minded people.
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