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The University of Sheffield: Sheffield Social Enterprise Accelerator (SSEA)

EEUK member organisation

The University of Sheffield

Contact name

Darren Chouings

Contact email address

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Description of the initiative

In 2015 The University of Sheffield designed and delivered our first programme to support Social Entrepreneurs working in South Korea. Students from the South Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), were given the opportunity to learn from world class experts working in social enterprise, gain insight into the third sector in the UK, and build links with social entrepreneurs working both in Sheffield and the UK more widely.

Having delivered social enterprise support for a number of years here in Sheffield, The University was well placed to draw upon its existing partner links, to design and create an unrivalled experience for the Korean school.

The University has since ran another programme and have a third planned in Sheffield for Summer 2017.

Development and delivery

Originally the opportunity was advertised by the British Council when KAIST were advertising for a UK partner to deliver a social enterprise programme in the UK. After a detailed response was made from Sheffield, KAIST setup an on-going agreement where the University would support their MBA students, and be listed as part of their overall course offer.

The first programme was funded by the SK centre for social entrepreneurship and also the Happiness Foundation.

We have benefited from the expertise of well established Social enterprise delivery partners. These included Social Enterprise UK, Tech City UK, UnLtd, The Keyfund, Jamie Veitch Consultancy, The University of Sheffield and The University of Sheffield Management School.

Whilst designing the first programme we went through various iterations as KAIST wanted to get as much value possible from their visit to the UK. As time progressed and feedback had been collected, we realised that 1:1 expert contact was very important to the Korean entrepreneurs. We responded to this insight by building in a great deal of expert mentor time where at least 6 social enterprise specialists were available on most days of future programmes. This way, students had access to all of the experts, and could be more strategic about how they spent their time.

Impacts

Since the success of our first programme, we have realised that there was clear value for the KAIST students and the businesses they run back in Korea. We believe this is down to being able to provide a varied programme of learning whilst also offering the chance to meet other entrepreneurs in the startup stage working here in the UK. This was achieved by running a few sessions where both KAIST students and TUoS students were invited but also during scheduled networking dinners during the week.

We recognised that there was opportunity for the different groups to meet in both an education setting and also in a more informal environment. During the networking events we also invited local social enterprise support agencies and also professionals working in the third sector to attend.

This enabled the KAIST students to build business links with Sheffield organisations and to hear about the social impact that was being made in the UK.

Impact measurement

As Entrepreneurship Educators we understand there are challenges in evidencing the impact our work provides. In the case of this programme we sought testimonials so that the Korean students could explain in their own words, how the programme supported them and their business.

One student, Eunha Jang commented:

Mentors delivered profound messages about my life and business and I am really impressed by all programs in Sheffield University. All of us will never forget these wonderful days. I’ll make my business better after going back to Korea with fulfilled confidence.”

The School itself has given us some very valuable feedback on each part of the programme so that we can respond appropriately to the needs of their students in the future.

Hye Kyu Kim, Research Associate commented:

I sincerely appreciate SSEA Team’s inspiring and informative Workshop and Mentoring which led SE MBA students got more confidence and prospects in terms of preparing their social enterprises more practically for growing impact

Entrepreneurial organisation

The SSEA programme compliments the other enterprise education delivery we provide for overseas partners. We are seeing that students from international Institutions are wanting to both experience the UK for new cultural experiences, but to also see how both education is delivered differently and how students similar to them are achieving their career ambitions.

The success of the SSEA programme has meant that we partner with a wider array of Social Enterprise experts than we ever did before. This means we now have access to great facilitators from companies like Social Enterprise UK and the Keyfund who can and have offered to further support other work we delver here at The University of Sheffield.

Our continued work with KAIST has also meant that we have leant a great deal about how Social Enterprise support is delivered elsewhere, meaning we have more to share with our own students here in Sheffield.

Next steps?

We are very excited to be planning our third programme with KAIST and will be welcoming a new cohort of students to Sheffield this summer. We are looking to further develop our delivery partner network and will have some exciting updates to share with the EEUK network in due course!

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