Here are the five nominees for the Best Social Enterprise Category. Each of these social enterprise projects has been set up by one of the Universities within the SETsquared Partnership.
Elephant Branded (University of Bath)
After working in Africa and Asia, James was shocked by the basic lack of school equipment, inspired to make a change he set up Elephant Branded which works with local villagers to make hand made products from recycled materials, giving them a way out of poverty and for every item sold a school kit is donated back to a child in the community.
We currently work with 75 ladies in Cambodia. Sales are online, across 24 Universities, in Germany through FAB as well as nation wide in John Lewis.
Elephant Branded has supplied Google with delegate bags and is a winner of Google’s world competition for enterprise. EB is also one of SMARTAs “Top 3 UK social Business” as well as one of Start Up UKs “Top 20 UK Start Up business of 2012”
Working with some of the largest charities in Africa, EB has donated thousands of School kits this year to 8 different countries. With production operations in 4 countries we have helped 107 people out of poverty through our ethical manufacture programs.
The University has been very supportive and the Pop up stall in Spitalfields was very use full in helping us talk with potential consumers.
Jollie Goods (University of Exeter)
Jollie Goods is a more-than-profit movement that seeks to equip Britain's homeless with the tools they need to get back on their feet, while also enabling you to participate in the work of your local homeless initiative.
We do this by producing fun, ethical and unique goods, and for every one sold we provide a partner product or funding to support a homeless person near you.
The idea came from personal experiences of working with homeless people, and grew into a desire to find a sustainable and distinctive way to give genuine support to homeless projects all over the UK.
Our first products are Jollie Socks, beautiful bright cotton socks, and for every pair you buy we donate a pair of thick, warm socks to a homeless person near you. Wear a pair, share a pair!
Since launching in December 2012 we have been able to donate over 400 pairs of socks to homeless initiatives from Exeter to Manchester.
Socks are just the start and we have plans for a range of products which will follow in their clean, warm footsteps.
We believe change works from the bottom up, and that the small things make a big difference.
SanEco (University of Southampton)
Based in Kenya, SanEco aims to enhance lives through innovative sanitary solutions as we found that through questionnaires and video footages, people lack hygienic sanitary facilities. To do this, we worked with NGOs and provided 5 entrepreneurs the skills and knowledge to build SanEco toilets that we designed using recyclable materials. They make money by converting human waste into fertiliser. We work with another 5 female entrepreneurs, teaching them about menstruation and how to make and sell sanitary towels educating others in the community. We taught them business concepts to help them set up their businesses.
We provided a microfinance loan to the entrepreneurs to buy materials. They repay at 25% of their extra monthly revenue allowing them to run sustainable businesses and increase their quality of life.
To date, we have directly impacted 10 female entrepreneurs. Where 48 packs of sanitary towels were sold in just one week, they have seen an increased income of 24%. Fertiliser entrepreneurs have saved 40% of their income and this further increases from selling urine fertilisers. SanEco has improved the lives with innovative toilet facilities which recycled over 2600 bottles and also helped women avoid menstrual diseases.
The Food Kiosk (University of Surrey)
This project unlocks the ability for student groups to use food as a means of engagement with new communities. We have launched a dedicated catering unit in the University of Surrey's main restaurant, which students can use to test their catering business ideas in the real world. The groups using this resource include student start-ups, student societies and external charities all using food as a means of reaching new communities and generating awareness, creating a huge impact across campus.
The restaurant where the unit is located handles payments and ensures health and safety procedures are followed correctly, allowing the students using the project to concentrate on their offerings. Commission on sales funds the scheme so no student is subject to high financial risk. The students receive 82.5%, the restaurant receives 12.5% and the project receives 5%. This 5% is completely reinvested into the project in two ways – 2.5% is set aside to cover the future costs of wear and tear. The other 2.5% is invested into an idea-starter fund that students with limited personal financial resources can apply to use to fund their ideas. Food is a social, cultural and inclusive experience; this project sustainably embodies these elements.