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Written by:
Paul Holland
13 Jan 2023

Entries are open for the 2023 Cambridge Social Innovation Prize – a £10,000 award aimed at “mid-career” social innovators.

While there are many rising star and lifetime achievement awards, the Cambridge Social Innovation Prize recognises there is a gap for social innovators at the mid-career stage.

The “life-changing” award targets extraordinary individuals with a proven track record, but who could benefit from support to reach the next level.

The judges know that often the individuals applying have been so focussed on their social impact, they have not had time to invest in their own professional development.

The Cambridge Social Innovation Prize aims to help these innovators grow themselves in order to increase their impact.

Past winners have included people who run: a bakery aimed at providing training and support for vulnerable women; a specialist bookseller established to raise equality and representation in the publishing industry; and a criminal law firm that ensures representation is provided throughout the legal process.

2022 winner Anne Bailey co-founded careers and employment company Form the Future CIC in 2015 after, as a parent, she experienced the disconnect between the dynamic Cambridge economy and the careers-support children received in education.

She said of the prize: “It’s been life-changing. I see it in

Anne Bailey, prize winner 2022.

three ways: the first was the obvious publicity and the profile for my organisation and some of the new connections that enabled; and the second is the prize – who spends £10,000 on their own learning and development?

“You certainly don’t when you’re a social leader, and that has been incredible for me in terms of how I’ve been able to invest that into support and programmes and training opportunities that are allowing me to grow and develop myself.”

The third point has been to force Anne to reflect on herself as a leader: “I really feel I’ve made a step change in my attitude and my behaviours, in my role, and in my work.”

Anne said she was in no doubt that social innovators should apply for the award: “It is a unique prize in the three different dimensions, the publicity, the training, and the opportunity to shift your thinking onto yourself. I would encourage anyone who thinks they meet the criteria to apply.”

Baroness Thornton, one of the prize judges, said: “The Social Innovation prize is for a leader, it’s for a person. It gives a resource to the person who is leading this innovation.

“And I think that’s really valuable, because it allows them to think: “what do I need to be a more effective innovator, or to build this business or this social enterprise more effectively?” It’s the only prize I’ve come across that does that.

“It’s not just the money, of course, it’s the advice that they will receive and support that they could receive in terms of scaling-up in the growth stage of their innovation. They’re doing this often on their savings or, as well as a full-time job. These are special people that deserve our support.”

Anyone wishing to apply can view the criteria and application forms via prize website:

The deadline for applications is 6 April, 2023.

About the prize

Now in its fifth year, the Cambridge Social Innovation Prize is the cornerstone of an ongoing collaboration between Cambridge Centre for Social Innovation at Cambridge Judge Business School and Trinity Hall. Supported by a generous donation from University of Cambridge (Trinity Hall) alumnus Graham Ross Russell.

Together, the School and the College are working to foster an interest in social innovation and entrepreneurship among students, fellows, and alumni, encouraging them to create new businesses and to pursue careers rooted in social and environmental impact.

For more information

Find out more about the prize:

Find out more about the Trinity Hall Entrepreneurship Network:
Trinity Hall Entrepreneurs Network (THEN)