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Written by:
Paul Holland
01 Apr 2022

This week, Trinity Hall welcomed 20 inspiring young entrepreneurs with visions of social innovation from Mulberry School for Girls, Tower Hamlets, to hear from women in the Social Innovation space.

They were accompanied by Founder & CEO of Social Ark, Lisa Stepanovic, Social Ark’s Head of Co-design Sandy Abdel-Rahman, Brogan Brooks, Mirela Maxhuni – all Social Ark alumni – and representatives from the Cambridge Judge Business School.

Lisa is one of three entrepreneurs recognised with the 2021 Cambridge Social Innovation Prize awarded by Trinity Hall and the Cambridge Centre for Social Innovation at the University of Cambridge for her creation of Social Ark.

Social Ark enables resilient young people from marginalised communities in East London to cultivate their own social enterprises, driven by their own purposes, values and experiences.

Social Ark event attendees sat facinig each other on the Terrace wall by the river

Social Ark event attendees

Each young entrepreneur visiting Trinity Hall this week has been selected for Social Ark’s ‘Here Come The Girls’ 12-week female empowerment programme.

The Programme, which is funded by the Hiscox Foundation, targets young women identified as aspiring leaders with socially conscious ideas and mentors them with weekly workshops, inspirational panel talks, discussions and mentoring from local female social entrepreneurs and senior female leaders.

Lisa said that during the Programme: “Step-by-step, the budding entrepreneurs will learn how to design and implement their own socially conscious project/enterprise, guided by their own lived experiences and the issues that are important to them. They will also develop pitching and presenting skills, building transferable life skills while growing in confidence; becoming role models and young leaders in their communities.”

The visit to Trinity Hall was an opportunity to recognise the young entrepreneurs’ abilities and potential and encourage their confidence by asking them to discuss their ideas with members of the University of Cambridge. The girls took this new experience in their stride, presenting their ideas with immense intelligence, energy and confidence. They demonstrated the purpose and power of supporting organisations like Social Ark.

The Cambridge Social Innovation Prize 2022 is open to applications until 8 April. Details of the prize, past winners like Lisa, and how to enter can all be found on the prize website.

Photos by Annabel Busher and words by Frankie Enticknap