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Providing specialist entrepreneurial support

Andrew Henry
Published on October 12, 2012

Teesside University has been awarded £25,000 from social entrepreneurship charity UnLtd to help support social enterprise as part of a new initiative by the Higher Education Funding Council.

Teesside is one of 56 higher education institutions to be chosen for the scheme which will help individuals with innovative solutions to pressing problems in society set up a social enterprise business.

Teesside University is leading the way on social enterprise with actually having a social entrepreneur in residence. Kate Welch

With a commitment to embed social enterprise in higher education, Teesside has now drafted in top social entrepreneur Kate Welch OBE DL to offer specialist support.

Kate Welch

Kate Welch started off in the world of social entrepreneurship in 2003 with no financial support but government contracts to deliver training for the jobless. She now runs the Acumen group of social enterprises covering everything from employability skills in east Durham to designing and manufacturing furniture in prisons and communities across the North East.

Acumen is now recognised nationally for helping people into learning, work and enterprise with Kate as its Chief Executive.

At Teesside, Kate and her team, Carol Kerr, Noel Cowley and Dave Collet will work with University staff, students, external agencies and social enterprises to drive awareness of social enterprise and the support available for those interested in setting one up.

Kate explains: “The combination of doing business and doing good makes social enterprise one of the most exciting and fast-growing movements in this country and across the world. Teesside University is leading the way on social enterprise with actually having a social entrepreneur in residence.

“The University already has a reputation of leading the field in working with business, supporting business start-ups and promoting both enterprise and entrepreneurial spirit with an active entrepreneurs group building it into the curriculum and a society dedicated to supporting entrepreneurial students.

“It is Teesside University’s goal to promote and support the growth of social enterprise by first raising awareness among staff and students.” Cliff Hardcastle

“It is now making that transition to addressing social issues using a business model and this is a really exciting venture. I am looking forward to raising awareness of what social enterprise is and providing support and guidance for people who want to make the transition from feeling passionate about an issue to effecting a solution.”

Professor Cliff Hardcastle, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Business Engagement) says: “It is Teesside University’s goal to promote and support the growth of social enterprise by first raising awareness among staff and students. The presence of both Kate’s team and the grant from UnLtd will help enormously.

“Having the knowledge and expertise of Kate and her team on board will be an invaluable springboard for the University to embed this activity in all it does to support business.”

Teesside University offers a complete range of dedicated social enterprise workshops in an enterprise development programme to help people gain new skills to achieve their goals.

For more information check out the website or contact Eileen Wicks (T: 01642 384640)

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