University sparks social change with £134,000 funding award

University sparks social change with £134,000 funding award

An innovative University of Aberdeen project focused on nurturing the next generation of social entrepreneurs has been awarded £133,887 from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

Designed to ignite a passion for social change in residents across Aberdeen, including students, the Sparking Change pilot programme will see a series of interactive workshops, inspiring guest speakers, hands-on project development offered by the University to anyone with little to no experience of enterprise, innovation or entrepreneurship but wants to make a positive change in the world.

Highlighting the importance of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, as well as mission-led organisations and businesses, the initiative will equip up to 180 participants with the knowledge, skills and confidence to become the next generation of social entrepreneurs.

Professor John Barrow, Dean for Employability and Entrepreneurship, said: “Aligned with the goals of the UK Government’s Shared Prosperity Fund, our ambition with this initiative is to unleash new creativity and talent in the Aberdeen community, support the development of local business and improve access to adult skills provision.

“Framed around tackling the pressing issues facing society like poverty, inequality and climate change, we will help delegates develop the skills and networks they need to create a better world through sustainable and impactful ventures.”

Two intakes for the programme are planned, the first in Autumn 2024 and the second in Spring 2025.

Professor Peter Edwards, Vice-Principal of Regional Engagement, said: “The University is a key contributor to the north-east’s entrepreneurial success with a long and proud history of encouraging innovation, creating new business opportunities and equipping the learners of today with the skills to be become the entrepreneurs of tomorrow.

“We are also an active civic partner, committed to making an effective contribution to our region. This exciting project is another opportunity for us to deliver lasting, positive impact and while we expect the programme to be of interest to students, it is open to people across the local community who want to create lasting social change through innovation.”

Grant funding is from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF). The UKSPF money was allocated to the City Council by the UK Government in 2022 for an initial three years and includes a “multiply” element of funding is ringfenced for activity to enhance adult numeracy skills provision. The core UKSPF element can be used across three priority areas - community and place, supporting local business, and people and skills.

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