STUDENTS have been recognised at a ceremony in London for trying to change their communities.
Social Enterprise Minister Alun Michael joined graduates from the School for Social Entrepreneurs to celebrate their success.
The school – for the ‘hard-headed and high minded' – trains students to use business skills for grassroots transformation rather than personal profit.
Graduates have combined compassion with business to make a difference in communities.
They include former lawyer Ase Obunge who has established a community mediation group to resolve neighbourhood disputes; Mobeen Butt who has developed a youth project which combines academic tutoring with martial arts and Nathalie McDermott whose radio production company brings diversity into the media by employing disadvantaged people as journalists – including ex-offenders and refugees.
The school was established by the founder of the Open University Michael Young in 1997 and currently has a network of six centres in the UK. Around 300 former students are working throughout the country bringing social transformation to prisons, schools, youth groups and other communities.
And although social enterprise may not make individuals rich – the benefits for society are huge.
Mr Michael, Labour/Co-op MP for Cardiff South and Penarth, said: "Our country needs entrepreneurs – people who take a lead and have a ‘can do' attitude to life. That is needed in small businesses, large corporations and indeed in the public sector.
"But the School for Social Entrepreneurs is a particularly British example of enterprise. The late Michael Young believed that leadership in social enterprise can be taught and caught – and I agree with him passionately.
"The school encourages the most creative and innovative entrepreneurs to use their talent to make a real difference in their community. I am delighted to welcome these social entrepreneurs as fellows of the school and congratulate them on their achievements."