By Paula Rogers. Paula works on the Enterprise Programme at Lloyds Bank, this includes both the Business Connectors & Social Entrepreneurs programmes.
This month sees Lloyds Banking Group celebrate two years of working in partnership with the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) to deliver the Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneurs programme. I’ve been leading this programme on behalf of Lloyds Banking Group since August last year, and I’m very proud to see how we’ve developed and grown the programme during that time.
Our partnership with SSE sits at the heart of the bank’s Helping Britain Prosper Plan, and aligns directly to our commitment to help businesses start up and scale up. The Plan is our way of delivering and measuring that we are a responsible business and we are the first bank to measure our social and economic impact in this way.
The Helping Britain Prosper Plan talks specifically about our support of 1,300 entrepreneurs through our Social Entrepreneur programmes by 2017. And each of those Social Entrepreneurs will be assigned a colleague from within the bank as a mentor, to help them start up and scale up their ideas effectively. The benefits from these programmes is two-fold. It’s not simply the Social Entrepreneurs who reap the benefit s; the experience is just as valuable for the mentors who grasp the personal development opportunity . The programme also helps drive colleague engagement. Our mentors work with inspirational and innovative individuals who come from a variety of backgrounds, and this provides an excellent opportunity for them to grow an enhanced understanding of another sector
So, what have we achieved to date?
Since April 2012, almost 450 students have participated in our Social Entrepreneur programmes. 154 graduated in the first year and almost 300 more will graduate from the year-long programme this Autumn.
In October 2013, we were delighted that Jacqui Johnstone-Lynch from Liverpool was voted, by the public, as our first Social Entrepreneur of the Year for the fantastic work she was doing at the Brink, the UK’s first dry bar which provides a cultural and social space for people in recovery from alcohol addiction alongside the mainstream public.
I’m excited to see which of our 40 Scale-Up social entrepreneurs will enter the Social Entrepreneur of the Year competition in 2014 and who the public will vote for. There really are some compelling and heart-warming enterprises that are making a significant difference in their communities and all are deserving winners in their own way. Watch this space for details about when and how to enter.
The Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneurs programme was itself shortlisted for the prestigious UK Sponsorship Awards this year, for the Education and Learning category. Although we didn’t win, we were honoured to be recognised for what has been achieved to date.
Taking the partnership further
We are really pleased with the increased interest there has been in our Programme; applications for next year’s intake have far exceeded our expectations with more than a thousand budding social entrepreneurs applying. I can’t wait to meet some of the candidates in our Dragons’ Den style selection panels. The pitches are usually so inspirational and often quite emotive whilst still having to demonstrate a strong business plan.
And working with SSE and the Cabinet Office, we’ve recently extended our support for social entrepreneurs even further and have committed to back The London Evening Standard’s Frontline London campaign Phase II.
The Frontline London programme will see ten London-based social entrepreneurs, from disadvantaged backgrounds, given the opportunity to participate in the ground-breaking scheme. Running in parallel to the existing Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneurs programme, the Frontline London programme will see ten 18 to 30 year olds who are committed to building a positive future and transforming their lives and those of others, rewarded with a seven-month tailored learning programme from SSE, a business mentor from the bank and a financial grant of up to £8,000.
As the bank’s Responsible Business and Community Affairs Director, Graham Lindsay, says: “We are delighted to be part of this important initiative. We already run a programme that supports nearly 300 social entrepreneurs acrossBritainevery year, providing grants and access to learning support and a mentoring scheme. The Frontline London campaign allows us to contribute further, helping young social entrepreneurs in London who have overcome tough backgrounds to realise their potential and provide role models for others to follow. We hope it illustrates our commitment to helping Britainprosper. We are immensely proud to be playing this further role.”