£1k for big ideas to make Volunteer Centre self-sufficient

Socially minded entrepreneurs with big ideas are being sought for a competition that aims to help a Bath-based volunteering centre to become financially self-sufficient.

A £1,000 prize is up for grabs in the Bath Social Enterprise Business Idea Competition being run jointly by the School of Management and the Volunteer Centre (Bath and North East Somerset).

The competition is seeking ideas on designing a business model that will enable the Volunteer Centre to move away from relying on grants to fund its work and work up viable income streams as a social enterprise.

University students and staff as well as local entrepreneurs are being encouraged to put their business brains to the test to come up with ways for the Centre to make enough money so that it can carry out its work matching volunteers to the community needs in Bath and North-East Somerset in an effort to build stronger communities in the city.

Social enterprise is a fast growing sector of the economy and is being increasingly used to deliver public goods and services more efficiently and commercially, but with a tangible social impact.

The School of Management and Volunteer Centre (Bath and North East Somerset) are launching the competition to find innovative social enterprise ideas that can be practically applied, show a clear value to the customer and creatively use what’s available at the Centre to secure regular income. The aim is to build a socially responsible, environmentally friendly and community inclusive social enterprise operating in and around Bath.

Entrants to the first round of the competition will need to put together a 250-word article and submit it by 24 May. Shortlisted entries will then have to put together a short video. The winning entry will present their idea at a gala reception in Bath and receive a cheque for £1,000.

The School of Management has worked with Volunteer Centre and B&NES Council on several research projects and this partnership offers a fantastic opportunity in social enterprise, an exciting area of interest to students, researchers and many local business people keen to help improve their local community.

Paul Caulfield, Senior Fellow in the School of Management and who is co-ordinating the project, said: "We look forward to getting a wide variety of ideas from staff, students, and anyone with interesting practical proposals. This competition offers a fantastic opportunity to see creative, resourceful, and socially-minded ideas in action."

The University Of Bath School Of Management was ranked as a leading institution in the most recent edition of The Sunday Times University Guide and The Economist.

Details of the competition can be found at go.bath.ac.uk/BeInvolvedBath or by following @beinvolvedbath on Twitter.

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