Teesside University increases support to social enterprises

Eileen Wicks, DAE

New funding programmes, worth almost £130,000, have been launched at Teesside University to establish a network of social enterprises across the region and provide them with training, support and mentoring.

The University has won the funding from UnLtd, a support charity for social entrepreneurs, to provide three different schemes to encourage social enterprise.

This latest tranche of funding from UnLtd means that, over the last three years, Teesside University has accessed almost £250,000 to help social enterprises to grow.

The schemes offered include a Teesside University-led social enterprise cluster across the North East, funding to help high-growth social enterprises and a collaboration to create a creative and cultural ecosystem in Darlington.

The funding is part of UnLtd’s SEE Change programme which has been launched with the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) to advance higher education led support for social enterprise.

Teesside has already had considerable success working with UnLtd and has helped to fund 19 social enterprises ranging from a company providing activities for disabled children, to an online hub for community groups in East Cleveland.

Eileen Wicks, Graduate Enterprise Manager at Teesside University, said: “We are delighted to be able to offer these exciting new opportunities for social enterprises across the North-East.

“This is the next step in the development of our support for social enterprise and will build upon the achievements we have already had in this field.

“Running a social enterprise can be an incredibly rewarding experience and we want to provide as much help as we can to enable social entrepreneurs to succeed.”

There are three strands to the SEE Change programmes which will be offered at Teesside University.

The first is the creation of a social enterprise support cluster involving the five North-East universities, led by Teesside, who will work in partnership to improve the social enterprise support infrastructure and include other organisations including support agencies, businesses and community groups.

The cluster will develop the social enterprise activity of the student unions and enterprise departments and also provide regional social enterprises with graduate placements.

Louis Garbutt, the new social enterprise associate, has been appointed to facilitate the delivery of the cluster project.

Louis will work with the five universities to help implement social enterprise activities and programmes.

The second strand of funding is a Scale and Growth programme which will help high potential social enterprises to expand.

The programme will provide a range of financial and non-financial support to the social enterprises to assist them to grow.

The final strand of the programme will see a Cultural and Creative Partnership formed in collaboration with arts group Creative Darlington.

This strand of the programme will be led by Sharon Paterson, the Assistant Dean (Business Engagement and Partnerships) in Teesside University’s School of Arts & Media.

It will work to create an eco-system which promotes the use of creative and cultural activities to meet social aims and provide opportunities for social enterprise ins this field.

Sharon Paterson said: “This project has been conceived as part of a long standing and close working relationship between Teesside University and Creative Darlington.

“It demonstrates our commitment to growing the local infrastructure to support creative/cultural social enterprises.

“Both partners are looking for ways to improve the way they support creative/cultural social enterprises and the legacy of this project will be a support network which will, in turn, improve the general social enterprise infrastructure through the learning from this project and through a healthy balance of creative companies.”

Stephen Wiper, Creative Darlington Manager added: “Developing Darlington as a creative place in which artists, arts producers and creative businesses can flourish is one of our aims.

“It’s great to see people develop careers through social enterprise in the arts and working with Teesside University with UnLtd’s support will help us to progress this.”

For more information about social enterprise opportunities at Teesside University contact Eileen Wicks on 01642-384640 or email e.wicks@tees.ac.uk.


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