Speakers Unveiled for the launch of the Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneurs Programme Parliamentary Event

29 Jan 2024

As the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) proudly marks a decade of transformative impact, the eagerly awaited report into the second phase of the Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneurs Programme is set to be unveiled at a celebratory launch event held at the House of Commons on Wednesday 31st January.

The culmination of this ten-year initiative has seen almost £10 million in grants distributed to over 2,500 organisations, reaching an estimated 2.1 million people across the UK since its launch in 2012. The collaborative efforts of funding partners Lloyds Bank, Bank of Scotland, the Scottish Government, and the National Lottery Community Fund have played a crucial role in shaping the success of this groundbreaking initiative.

The event

The launch event will bring together voluntary sector leaders, social entrepreneurs, policy makers and business leaders to celebrate the power of social enterprise and its impact on economic growth and social impact. Kindly hosted by Tim Loughton MP, we are delighted to be expecting Stuart Andrew MP (Minister for Equalities) to give the welcome speech, followed later in the evening by Liz Twist MP (Shadow Minister for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities) and Baroness Thorton (Shadow Spokesperson for Culture, Media & Sport) giving their thoughts on social enterprise as a model for doing business differently. 

We will be hearing from front-line social entrepreneurs, Cemal Ezel (Founder & CEO – Change Please) and Veronica Gordon (Founder & CEO – Our Version Media CIC) who will shine a light on SSE’s skill development programmes and Match Trading grants, sharing their experiences from across the decade-long programme.  

We will also hear from those who championed the programme right from its beginnings, including founding CEOs of SSE Cornwall, Sally Heard (now Director of Development & External Affairs, SSE) & SSE Scotland, Tracey Muirhead (now Director of Scotland, SSE), and The National Lottery Community Fund’s England Director of Strategy, Engagement & Partnerships, Phil Chamberlain. 

Keynote Speakers 


“Match Trading was unlike any other funding I’d received before. As my social enterprise had to earn and increase our trading income to qualify for the grant instalments, it pushed and challenged me to actively seek ways to do that. I became more pro-active in seeking new partnerships and clients, creating new services, and providing existing clients with new opportunities. All of this ultimately benefited the communities we work with and increased our social impact.”

Veronica Gordon, Founder & CEO – Our Version Media CIC

Also sharing their insights will be SSE representatives:

Sally Heard –  Director of Development and External Affairs, SSE. Previously founding director & CEO, the School for Social Entrepreneurs, Cornwall.

Tracey Muirhead – Director of School for Social Entrepreneurs, Scotland.

Robin Chu – Director of Strategic Projects at SSE will lead the event, who says of the report:

“The [AKOU] report proves what we at SSE have always known – leaders with more developed skillsets, and who are more connected to their peers, are better placed to lead social sector organisations. It is fantastic to have this evidenced by the evaluation and celebrate the findings with the sector

We are looking forward to sharing insights and key takeaways following the event next week.