Local business people with ideas for a better world

Cool 8 Graduation at the Eastern Enterprise Hub, Suffolk University
from left to right: Chanel Oldi

Cool 8 Graduation at the Eastern Enterprise Hub, Suffolk University from left to right: Chanel Olding (Learning Manager), Adam Vaughan, John Taylor, Oliver Ingwall-King, Jo Salter, Nick Denny (above), Lucy Elkin (below), Digby Chacksfield (CEO) - Credit: Archant

Going Green – Eight new social entrepreneurs graduate from the Eastern Enterprise Hub

Eight local ‘entrepreneurs in training’ have graduated from a support programme for “green” social enterprise, run by the Ipswich-based Eastern Enterprise Hub.

The group celebrated their progress so far – from drawing board, to start up – at the Hub’s waterfront offices.

All eight are based in Suffolk and Norfolk, and aim to tackle a wide range of environmental and social issues locally by developing their new business ideas.

The graduation was also attended by other local businesses, including the East of England Co-operative Society.

A social enterprise is a business focused on making a difference, as well as making a profit. The fast-growing sector provides “real answers to the significant social and environmental problems we face” (

Organised by the Eastern Enterprise Hub, and supported by PriceWaterhouse Coopers, the programme provided training and mentoring to budding local social entrepreneurs, as they worked on starting their businesses.

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The participants have started (or are working on starting) a diverse group of enterprises: producing traceable, fair-trade clothes; a community energy company; a ‘green gym’; an environmentally-friendly café; an environmental advocacy group; the region’s first job board for ‘work anywhere’ remote jobs, and the region’s first ‘share shop’ to encourage reuse of household items.

Five of the eight entrepreneurs were present at a special celebration at the Hub,

Digby Chacksfield, ceo of the School for Social Entreneurs East, said: “We are really proud and pleased about this.

“These are all people with business ideas that are good for the environment.

“We are looking to provide expertise and support; these are people who want to change the world, to make a difference.

“These are individuals who want to change the world.

“You all can create your own journey - and look at being a success.

“We have had three of these programmes so far and we are pleased to celebrate them.”

Each of the graduates had to “pitch” their ideas to the audience.

Jo Salter’s Where Does It Come From? ethical clothing business has been going two years now.

Initially starting with denim children’s clothes, she has moved on to scarves and adult shirts.

“And we are planning pajamas for next years,” she said. Her clothes can be traced from the farmer, through the manufacturer to the shop.

Adam Vaughn spoke of his dream, to help tackle the housing crisis by putting self-builders together to enable them to compete with volume housebuilders for land. “We will be looking to raised £500,000 in seed funding, for 20% of the company,” he said.

Suffolk mum Lucy Elkin has set up myworkhive.com to help encourage people to work from home, and for employer to offer home working opportunities.

Mother-of-two Lucy and her family moved to Occold, near Eye, six years ago.

“I decided I was not going to spend three hours a day commuting to London. So I looked to find work I could do from home.

“There are not so many local job opportunites, but with many jobs you can actually work from home.

“One third of the carbon emissions in the UK are from commuting, so it is good for the environment too.”

“This is particularly important for people in rural areas, like ours, or who want to work around childcare and education.

“Home working is good for so many reasons.”

The eight entrepreneurs and their enterprises are:

Oliver Ingwall King, AlskaEco (environmental advocacy for people, businesses and communities), Bury St Edmunds;

Santana Hard-Corr, Corr Café (environmental café), Felixstowe:

Tim Thorpe, ECOPhysical (green gym), Felixstowe:

Adam Vaughn, eHabitation (eco-friendly co-housing), Norwich:

Lucy Elkin, myworkHive (a job board for “remote” working jobs),Occold:

John Taylor, Sunrise Solar (community energy), Ipswich:

Lucy Ambler, The Share Shop (a “library” for household items), Ipswich:

Jo Salter, Where Does it Come From (Fairtrade, traceable clothes), Ipswich.

Have you got a great new business idea?

Applicants are now being sought for a new Ipswich Entrepreneurs programme at the Eastern Enterprise Hub, which is being supported by Ipswich Borough Council and is specifically for Ipswich people.

It is open to people with “young” businesses, established less than two years, who would benefit from support and development.

The applicants must be based in the IP1 to IP4 areas, and want to develop their business.

Contact Chanel Olding at the Enterprised Hub for more information; 01473 527100 or email; chanel.olding@eehub.co.uk