Social Entrepreneurship Meets Digital Innovation

The Business Insights Lab (BiL) hosted the final panel presentation session of the Wates Family Enterprise Trust (WFET) Social Enterprise programme.  WFET funded the programme last year to encourage and train the University’s postgraduate community – across all Faculties – to get involved with social enterprise.  The WFET awards panel was chaired by Janet Preston, and included Andrew Wates, who will soon be joining the University as Pro-Chancellor. Steered and taught by CoDE Team member Dr Ben Shenoy, this has been an immensely exciting initiative that drew together expertise across disciplines and across the wider community.

The panel made awards to the following student projects:

  • £15,000 to David Makepeace (Physics PhD student) and Laura Kent (Chemistry PhD student) for Lab Rats, whose objective is to bring the fun and excitement of STEM disciplines to primary school children to address the UK’s science & technology skills shortage;
  • £2,000 to Marcio de Lazzari (CES PhD student) for TAW-WASTE, whose objective is to collect plastic water bottles from large race events to reduce landfill and recycle the collected materials into new products;
  • £2,000 for Shamini Holloway (CES PhD student) for MAGIC Wand hemp shake, an industrial hemp-based drink that addresses issues related to nutrition, obesity and the environment.

Over the course of the past year, the WFET Social Enterprise programme was attended by about 30 postgraduate students across all Faculties.  This could not have happened without the consistent support of our mentors (Maria Evangeli, Gerard Bell and Paul Snowsill), who provided sage mental and emotional guidance to our students; Tracy Hampton of RES Student Enterprise, who successfully juggled students, mentors and faculty as the initiative unfolded; and Carol Spencely of the Researcher Development Programme, who tirelessly helped to recruit participants from the PGR community.

The programme also served to showcase the Business Insights lab as the ideal space and atmosphere for collaborative work, ground-breaking concepts, and innovative ideas. The CoDE Team are delighted that the Social Enterprise programme and their sponsorship of the BiL are jointly putting the digital face on enterprise education.

Whither next Social Enterprise? The team will be meeting soon to design the next iteration of the programme, which will work with a new cohort of postgraduates as well as our award winners.  We plan to launch the next iteration at the annual PGR conference in April.


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About the Author : Kris Henley

Communications and Outreach for Surrey Business School's Centre for the Digital Economy, a newly-founded research centre to explore the implications of the Digital Economy for business, government and society.