The following social enterprises were founded by students from the SETsquared universities and have been nominated for the Best Social Enterprise Project 2014.
Balance Stationery (University of Bristol)
A stationery company that addresses global education inequality.
Balance provides stationery and school equipment to underprivileged children throughout the world to give them a better quality education. Balance does this by donating a percentage of it stationery contracts with businesses and schools in the UK. Balance uses a linking program to link schools and business in the UK to schools in the developing world. Each school in the UK will be paired with a school in a developing country so that every time a UK school/business purchases supplies from balance a percentage of the money is used to provide teacher training and purchase supplies for the children of that partnered school.
Balance believes that Education empowers people with the knowledge and skills to improve themselves out of poverty.
Income is generated from sales of office and education supplies – everything from basics such as paper and ink right through to furniture and janitorial supplies. Balance has a catalogue with over 25,000 products. Company merchandise is also sold to generate income. (t-shirts).
Balance monitors its partnered schools in developing countries by the schools pass rates, before-training and supplies and then every year after, to be able to measure the true impact.
Enactus Bath (University of Bath)
Enactus Bath is the social enterprise group at the University of Bath, an organisation of 85 students dedicated to empowering people in need through 4 projects.
ReSTARt has improved the confidence and business capabilities of two recovering alcoholics through personalised business workshops, as well as practical business tasks, to support them to create their own businesses.
Through weekly workshops and establishing an enterprise society, Bright Ways has improved the business skills, prospects and confidence for 49 under achieving students at our local College.
Insight Consulting is a consultancy which has supported 5 struggling social entrepreneurs in the local community, through creative business advise to build their capacity and reach.
Ugandan Threads Co. supports 13 struggling Ugandan women to upcycle used cement bags to produce and sell their own boutique bags in the local market.
Our newly created commercial venture, selling custom printed hoodies, combined with our fundraising efforts produces 42% of our income, helping us to fulfil our long-term aim of becoming financially sustainable in the future.
Over the next 2 years, we aim to expand our project portfolio and increase the reach of our current projects, boost visibility and performance within the university, and become completely financially sustainable.
Jollie Goods (University of Exeter)
Jollie Goods was born during Ed Vicker’s first year. Volunteering at a homeless shelter he recognised the need for socks among homeless population, and since then he has taken Jollie Goods from concept to reality.
The “Wear a pair, share a pair” model sees Jollie Goods donate a pair of thick socks to a homeless organisation for every pair of its brightly coloured socks which are sold.
The “more-than-profit” business began selling from its website in 2012 and in the first year donated over 400 pairs of socks.
2013 saw Jollie Goods stocked by small, independent retailers; they expanded the range of socks and moved the manufacturing to a UK based business.
Although sales and brand awareness continued to grow, the real breakthrough came when Jollie Goods was selected to be sold by John Lewis, at its Central London stores and the website.
Jollie Socks completely sold out over Christmas 2013, resulting in the donation of more than 2,000 pairs of socks, helping to keep homeless fee dry and warm in one of the wettest winters.
2014 promises to be a great year with beanies & scarves being launched and sold through John Lewis stores nationwide.
SanEco (University of Southampton)
SanEco tackles the issues of sanitation by working with widowed women in Kisii, Kenya. Through needs assessments, we saw a large need for sanitary facilities, more effective fertilisers and women’s menstrual health education. These needs are met through SanEco businesses: the SanEco toilets (the building of an innovative toilet with a waste collection system converting human waste into natural fertilisers), the SanEco sanitary towels (the making and selling of sanitary towels) and the SanEco soap (the making and selling of soap).
With a microfinance loan, the entrepreneurs are able to set up their own businesses. They repay at 25% of their additional monthly income allowing for SanEco to scale sustainably. Socially, 6182 women and girls are taught vital menstrual health education and thousands of people have access to clean sanitary facilities. Economically, the entrepreneurs have so far increased their income up to 58% and crop yields have increased threefold. Environmentally, 5830 bottles and 34 tonnes of human waste have been recycled reducing waste lying in the streets. In one year, the enterprise has improved the lives of over 11,000 people. By expanding our support network, we hope to improve the lives of 40,000 people in year 3.
Violet Jay Hair Extensions & Hair Care (University of Surrey)
Violet Jay will supply hair and beauty products sourced ethically from all over the world, which will guarantee quality to customers and a fair trade from the suppliers and donors. The business will supply products directly to salons and hair shops in the UK and will look to expand to Europe by year 3 of trading.
The current social project in Morocco aims to empower women and encourage entrepreneurship. The project entails working closely with a Moroccan Argan Association which will be the main supplier of cosmetic products to the business.
Benefits of purchasing Argan oil directly from the cooperatives are more work opportunities for women and promotes a sustainable trade. I will also continuously visit the association to provide support to the women and ensure that their working conditions are fair. For future development, a percentage of profits from every Argan sale will go towards a fund for founding a Women’s Cooperative in Morocco in the year 2016.
The Start-up has received an Enterprise Grant of £5000 to help with Start-up costs, from the University of Surrey in 2013. Virgin Start-ups has also funded the business with a £4000 investment loan and is providing continuous support and mentorship.