Cambridge Social Innovation Prize
Trinity Hall and the Cambridge Centre for Social Innovation have partnered to celebrate and support extraordinary social innovators.
This prize, awarded for the first time in 2019, rewards achievement and ambition in social innovation. It celebrates social impact through business across the UK, from Land’s End to John O’Groats. We are looking for extraordinary business leaders whose work creates social change, whether that’s in a local community or on a national level.
We are grateful to Graham Ross Russell, an alumnus and Honorary Fellow of Trinity Hall, and his family for the generous donation which allows us to offer this new prize.
About the prize
Up to four winners will receive £10,000 each to develop the skills, resources and networks they need to scale the impact or their work, develop a new project, or pursue new possibilities. An expert business advisor will support the winners for six months to develop their own leadership capacity, make connections into Cambridge networks, and think through strategic challenges. You will also join a community of outstanding social innovators: a platform for collaboration and new ideas, an opportunity to connect with experts and deepen your social impact.
The winners will be people with a proven track record (five to 10 years) of social impact through business, as an entrepreneur or an intrapreneur, and who are bubbling over with ambitious plans for the future. For example:
- Founder or senior leader in a social enterprise.
- Leader of a corporate social innovation project.
- Leader of a public sector spin-out or trading subsidiary of a charity.
This award celebrates social impact through business across the UK. Eligible candidates should meet the following criteria:
- UK-based: This prize is intended to support social innovators whose primary social impact is in the UK. They should be based in the UK or have a strong connection to the UK. You do not have to be a UK citizen.
- Dedicated to social impact: The winners must show a commitment to social impact and creating positive social change, whatever that means in the context of their work.
- Businesses (or business-like): This prize is intended for people making social impact through business and entrepreneurship. That said, the line between charity, corporate and the public sector is increasingly blurry! Leaders of charities, non-profits and public sector organisations are very welcome to apply, if their work is driven by self-generated revenue. Organisations or projects which are primarily philanthropic or grant-funded, while important and impactful, are outside the scope of this prize.
How to apply
Applications for the 2020 prize are open from December 2019 to April 2020.
Visit the Cambridge Centre for Social Innovation website for more information and details on the application process.
The 2019 winners
CEO of Homes for Good, Glasgow
Homes for Good is Scotland’s first social enterprise letting agency. They also own two property investment portfolios of 240 homes specifically for people who have limited housing choice.
But the way Susan talks about the business, the driving motivation is to give people dignity in housing: for tenants to love your home and for your home to love you. People who live on benefits or so-called ‘high-risk’ tenants often don’t get that opportunity.
To scale her impact, Susan wants to lead by example – her goals in the next year include meeting with estate agents and social organisations across the UK to help them adopt a similar model.
The Regather co-operative, Sheffield
Gareth founded this co-operative to allow space for community to flourish. Over time, that’s settled into three main areas: food, including a vegetable box scheme and market garden; drink, a bar and a microbrewery producing craft beer and cider; and events, a two-day music festival and event management services.
Gareth is a champion of social and economic change through food. His five-year plan is to deepen the engagement between the community and its food systems by launching a community share offer and membership scheme, inviting the community to engage fully in the democratic governance and ownership of the Regather cooperative.
CEO of Birdsong, East London
Birdsong provides living-wage work to women from migrant communities in London using craft skills that they already have. There is a wealth of making skill among London’s migrant communities but the women Birdsong employ often face significant barriers to employment: for example language, lack of qualifications and childcare commitments.
Aside from the social mission, Sarah and the team have managed to build a manufacturing process that is local and lean, which gives them margins comparable to industry standards, and have provided 10,000 hours of paid work at the living wage to low-income women.
CEO of Autonome, Weston-super-Mare
Will’s vision is to make people with learning disabilities independent. The AutonoMe app helps people learn new skills through step-by-step videos and helps them self-evaluate their needs.
This helps carers understand where each individual is on their journey of independence, so they can make evidence-based decisions about their ongoing support needs. It’s already operating in seven local authorities in South West England, and Will’s ambition to make this a mainstream part of social care nationally.