The University of Hertfordshire has been selected as a partner for a pioneering programme which will see its graduates set up more social enterprises in the community.

The programme, a £2 million Higher Education (HE) Support initiative funded by Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and delivered by UnLtd, will provide the University with financial and non-financial support to embed social entrepreneurship in Hertfordshire, as graduates and students are given the chance to start up a social venture.

As part of the programme, the University will receive £25,000 in funding and will introduce a ‘Social Enterprise’ category to its annual student enterprise competition, flare, and establish a Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) team to work alongside the current Herts Entrepreneurs society. It is hoped that a SIFE team will mobilise the University’s students to make a difference in their community while developing the skills to become socially responsible business leaders. This will also support collaboration across the University, drawing together existing strands of social entrepreneurship that already exists.

Jana Filosof, Director of Social Enterprise Unit at the University of Hertfordshire, said: “With this funding not only can we support an even greater number of graduates and students in their quest to become social entrepreneurs, we also plan to gain new insights and develop new ideas from working within this national network. In addition, we aim to incorporate the learning from this collaboration into our teaching and learning activities and research. Most importantly we will be able to forge stronger links with our community, as social enterprises give back to society.”

The University of Hertfordshire, which already has a Social Enterprise Unit, is one of fifty-five Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in England to partner with UnLtd on this initiative and will collaborate with its student body, Herts Entrepreneurs, to help with the delivery of the programme. The final list of all selected HEI partners can be viewed at www.unltd.org.uk/hesupport