We are always inspired by our students and love hearing new, different, wacky and innovative ideas that can make your community a better place.
The University of Sheffield Social Innovation Programme was developed to provide support to students with socially driven ideas. Over a 6 months period we were approached by a range of students with very different ideas that all had a community focus. To give you some insight into the fact that the Social Innovation Lab is for every student or graduate that has an idea or desire to make a difference in their community we are going to showcase the students that have inspired us.
Rose is a PHD student who has attended a week at our enterprise bootcamp. She had a meeting with our Enterprise Officer about a project idea around care in the community. She was prompted to think further about how she can also support those from disadvantaged backgrounds. Rose wants to explore how she can do this, whilst still making her business financially successful.
The Lab will provide Rose with the guidance and support required to test out different business models on her project to see which is the best option for her.
Katerina has a degree in architecture and is interested in developing a project which locates Sheffield’s derelict buildings and identifies how these spaces may be used for community projects (eg short term pop-up shops, businesses schools, community projects). Katerina’s focus is on community impact and she says she does not want to make any money from her project.
Hopefully, the Lab will help Katerina see the benefits of developing a project which is financially sustainable, so that the project can run as a business.
Lauren is journalism student working with a friend on a web-based project that reviews bands whilst helping journalism students build their live portfolio. The website is currently up and running, but now needs to make money. They have ideas around selling advertising, but will also need a more sustainable model.
Perhaps the Lab could help Lauren think about framing her project in terms of social innovation, with community benefits, and a view to securing further funding/support.
Joyce is from Cameroon, with strong NGO connections. She is looking to set up a co-operative model – where young women working in Cameroon can products to sell in the UK as well as taking UK students to projects in Cameroon. Predominately she wants to use micro finance and loan retrieval. Joyce wanted some advice on setting up a foundation.
The Lab may help her think about her project in terms of outcomes and would allow her to apply for the Social Innovation Accelerator in February where she could access further advice and support around specific areas.
John is studying engineering and enjoyed the module where they developed a wheelchair to solve to help a boy who had cerebral palsy. He is interested in finding out more about social innovation, though does not have a specific idea in mind.
The Lab will give John to opportunity to hear other ideas, and work on them to develop his skills and knowledge on establishing successful social enterprises.