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Social enterprise pilot

Cambridge Enterprise teams with Cambridge Social Ventures at Cambridge Judge for social investment seed funding pilot programme.

Social enterprise pilot

Cambridge Enterprise, the commercialisation arm of the University of Cambridge, has joined forces with Cambridge Social Ventures at Cambridge Judge Business School in a pilot programme investing in social ventures emerging from the University.

The programme will invest up to £20,000 each in as many as five businesses that are making a positive social or environmental impact. Any returns will be reinvested in future social ventures.

These funds boost the offer already available to social ventures in the University: over the past three years dozens of Cambridge staff and students have joined more than 500 entrepreneurs from across the UK for training and business support with Cambridge Social Ventures, part of the Cambridge Centre for Social Innovation at Cambridge Judge.

Anne Dobrée, Head of Seed Funds at Cambridge Enterprise, says the partnership will enable Cambridge Enterprise to better support social ventures, which fits with its mission to help University members “make their ideas and concepts more commercially successful for the benefit of society”.

“We are enthusiastic about being involved in the social investment arena – a growing and exciting area,” says Anne. “We anticipate that the small investments from the fund may lead to follow-on investments as the ventures grow.”

Belinda Bell

Cambridge Social Ventures director Belinda Bell says it’s exciting to see the University of Cambridge using capital in innovative ways to create scalable social impact.

“There’s an appetite for people to consider more deeply the impact that their investments make, and we’re looking forward to working with Cambridge Enterprise to support University spin-outs with social impact embedded at the core of a thriving business.”

Since 2014, ventures supported by Cambridge Social Ventures have raised more than £10 million in funding and have doubled the number of beneficiaries they reach year on year. It proudly supports entrepreneurs who don’t fit the stereotypical profile: women make up 60% of the entrepreneurs supported and 30% are black or an ethnic minority.

The programme has just recruited its latest cohort of ventures, which will be the first to benefit from the new fund.

One venture previously supported by Cambridge Social Ventures and funded by Cambridge Enterprise through a prior funding scheme is Healthera, a provider of next-generation, pharmacy-integrated personal health management solutions. Cambridge Enterprise Investment Manager Tania Balsa sits on their board.

Healthera’s CEO and cofounder Quintus Liu says this support has enabled Healthera to grow from a small start-up to a thriving technology company with its own culture.

“The engagement and business advice from the Cambridge Social Ventures team, as well as the generous office space, definitely helped us to build our innovative and socially-responsible products,” said CEO and cofounder Quintus Liu. “With the investment from Cambridge Enterprise, we have been able to rapidly grow into a structured technology company with strong technical and commercial teams.”