Ipswich: Graduation ceremony for Eastern Enterprise Hub’s School for Social Entrepreneurs – East Fellowship Programme

A BUSINESS leader has called for social enterprises to be accepted into the mainstream at a graduation ceremony in Ipswich today.

A BUSINESS leader has called for social enterprises to be accepted into the mainstream at a graduation ceremony in Ipswich yesterday.

Suffolk’s economy is set to benefit from the creation of 16 new social enterprise businesses, supporting jobs for 500 people, Eastern Enterprise Hub chairman Harry Berry pointed out.

Students graduated from the hub’s School for Social Entrepreneurs – East Fellowship Programme, sponsored by law firm Prettys.

All the new businesses have been established to address a social, environmental or community need.


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Mr Berry said social enterprise should now be seen as mainstream businesses, supporting jobs and growth across the region.

“Social entrepreneurs are special people who bring all the skill, drive and innovation of an entrepreneur to set up businesses that not only create economic growth and employment opportunities but also directly address, through sound business principles, the triple bottom line of environmental, social or community need,” he said.

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“Not only will these businesses sustain real jobs, they will have the added benefit of making our local communities better places to live.”

Interim hub chief executive Andrea Davies acknowledged the support for enterprise growth from the regional business community.

“Our students’ achievements in creating these new enterprises are testament to their own personal development,” she said.

“Not only have they acquired real business acumen but also the confidence and business resilience of a true entrepreneur. This is as a result of some fantastic support from our entrepreneurial business partners, including the Enterprise Superstars, who have given their time to share their high level knowledge, skills and connections to accelerate the learning of all these new entrepreneurs.”

Olive Quinton has been a student on the programme whilst setting up Lofty Heights, a business which now employs six local young people, to provide cost effective loft emptying services for the elderly and disabled to help them benefit from loft insulation schemes.

“The last year has been amazing, taking Lofty Heights from concept stage to a sustainable business providing real employment,” she said.

“Being part of this programme at the EE Hub has given me the confidence to realise my ambitions and the contacts to grow the business quickly. I set out to establish a business with the dual aims of addressing fuel poverty whilst creating employment and training for local youngsters – now I’m well on the way to doing both of these.”

Jo Douglas graduated from the SSE - East Fellowship Programme earlier this year and has successfully established Allied Health Professionals which now employs 72 people across the East said: “SSE - East is a source of enormous positive energy and gives you a sense of direction. Every time the group meets it is a great sharing experience. It helps you understand that when you’re in a lonely place others have been there and done that, and hearing from others who have been exceptionally successful is really helpful because it restores hope that you are on the right track.”

In response to increased demand for specialist knowledge about social enterprise, the School for Social Entrepreneurs – East has developed a bespoke consultancy service for public, private and third sector partners.

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