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London's universities say ‘OpenSME’ to new support for capital's small businesses

A group of London's universities are launching a new collaboration – OpenSME – that seeks to make it easier for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to access the expertise and knowledge they offer.

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HEFCE UnLtd Social Enterprise Awards in partnership with UCL

HEFCE UnLtd Social Enterprise Awards in partnership with UCL

About the programme

HE Support is a joint initiative from UnLtd and HEFCE to help establish an effective eco-system for the development and growth of social entrepreneurship and social enterprise activity within Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in England. UCL is one of 56 HEIs to partner with UnLtd and HEFCE on this initiative.

Who we are

At UCL, the initiative will see UCLB, UCL Advances and the Volunteering Services Unit work together with the UCL Knowledge Transfer Champion for Social Enterprise under the umbrella of UCL Enterprise to strengthen the social enterprise culture that is evolving in the institution and provide proof of concept funding and support to both academics and students looking to set up social enterprises. 

Award Criteria

Awardees must be:

  • UCL students, academic staff or recent graduates (graduated within 1 year)
  • living in the UK for the duration of the project
  • who are individuals or part of an informal group
  • willing to share lessons with other students/staff at UCL
  • motivated to take this forward in the future

Projects must:

  • be an entrepreneurial solution to a social problem
  • have an understanding of the social need and customer demand for proposed product/service
  • have a plan to become financially sustainable
  • be a new initiative – not an established organisation
  • benefit the public or a community in the UK in part or whole
  • have a clear plan for milestones and deliverables
  • not be for activities outside the law, against UCL’s policies or anything that fosters ethnic, religious or commercial disharmony

If you wish to apply, please find the application form and guidance here