Generation of change-makers recognised by speakers at Parliament event

13 Feb 2024

6 people stand on stage facing the camera and smiling

“It’s turned a generation of dreamers into a generation of doers,” introduced SSE’s Director of Strategic Projects and the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) Fellow Robin Chu. Inspirational opening lines from host Robin Chu at our Parliamentary event on January 31st to celebrate the AKOU report on the Lloyds Bank and Royal Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneurs Programme.  

A programme delivered by SSE and supported by The National Lottery Community Fund that has been pivotal in shaping an era of change, providing support to over 2,400 social entrepreneurs and enabling them to address a wide range of societal and environmental issues. In turn touching the lives of 2.1 million people. 

Keynote speaker Civil Society Minister, Stuart Andrew MP highlighted government recognition of the programme’s value in fostering solutions to societal challenges; “Social entrepreneurs are some of the most innovative changemakers and I’m proud that we are here to support them.” 

Cemal Ezel, CEO & founder of Change Please, shared his journey from commodity broker to social entrepreneur, emphasising SSE’s role in his venture; “ [In] reality the knowledge of working in a corporate environment as a commodity broker did not give me any of the foundations necessary to start a business, let alone a social business. Without the support of [SSE’s] programme, Change Please would never have been able to achieve the impact it has today.” 

Speaker at a podium

Shadow Levelling Up Minister, Liz Twist MP, highlighted how the transformational impact of the programme reached across the UK including her constituency of Blaydon; “There are many social enterprises in my constituency. One of them I’m pleased to meet tonight, Gateshead Community Organisation, said the learning programme was worth ten times the financial support.”  

Veronica Gordon, a former broadcast journalist who founded Our Version Media CIC, credited the SSE with transforming her career path, enabling her with the skills to create a project that tangibly improved people’s lives; “SSE gave me the know-how to launch Our Version Media CIC, [we] feature in the [AKOU] report and it was beautiful for me as founder to read the feedback from beneficiaries. […] 96% of the people that we worked with said that we had a positive impact on their communities.”  

Speaker at a podium talking

Director at The National Lottery Community Fund, Phil Chamberlain, celebrated the programme and his organisation’s long held support for the School for Social Entrepreneurs; “Social enterprises are the very lifeblood of communities. We believe in this approach [now], and we believed in this approach back in in 2012. To be part of this for over a decade really is worth celebrating and we’re incredibly proud of that. We’re really proud to continue to work hand in glove alongside SSE. ”  

All the voices we heard that evening and in the report confirmed The Lloyds Bank and Royal Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneurs Programme as a cornerstone in supporting social entrepreneurship in the UK. By providing financial support, educational opportunities, and a supportive network, the programme has enabled individuals from diverse backgrounds to become catalysts for change, demonstrating the profound impact that social enterprises can have on society. 

Read the report: Impact of the Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneurs Programme