Community schemes awarded with almost £40,000

Monday, 09 March 2015

Jordan Maynard-Daley pitches for a 'Build It' award

Inspirational social enterprise projects have secured a total of nearly £40,000 in the biggest ever Dragons’ Den pitch event for Oxford Brookes Social Entrepreneur Awards (OBSEA), held last Wednesday (4 March) at the Brookes Restaurant and across the Gipsy Lane campus

OBSEA’s theme is From Passion to Action, and the aim is to support individuals in making a real social impact using an entrepreneurial approach. 

In total, more than 15 projects pitched to three panels of Dragons for awards ranging from the Try It Award of up to £500 to the Do It and Build It awards of up to £5,000 and £15,000 respectively. The event saw the Dragons award one Build It, four Do It and 9 Try It awards with decisions based around the calibre and passion of the individual, the strength of the idea and the durability of the business model. An additional award for The Social Entrepreneur of the Year of £1,000 funding was gifted by the OBSEA team, with sponsorship from Santander UK, and presented by Tim Foster, MBE, Olympic Gold Medallist (rowing) to a student who has shown commitment and growth throughout their OBSEA journey.

Having a goal and setting yourself a target about something you feel passionate about is important both as a student and in life generally; all the better if it involves helping people who are less fortunate than ourselves.

Dr Katherine Grainger CBE, future Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University


After the deliberations of the Dragons, who were all external social entrepreneurs in their own right, the key winners were:

The Arts Excite – Jordon Maynard-Daley (Build It Award £12,000)

The Arts Excite is a platform for talented, disadvantaged young people to express themselves and bring about positive change in their communities. The young people respond to real world briefs set by community groups and local charities. The Arts Excite supports them with free, accredited workshops giving those young people not in employment, education or training the chance to earn a nationally recognised Arts Award qualification.

Contemporary Arts Research Unit (CARU) – Aya Kasai  (Do It Award £5,000 and Social Entrepreneur of the Year £1,000)

CARU is an artist-/researcher-lead platform, designed to bring creative and/or academic work out of studios and offices to share and exchange ideas with the public, striving to develop techniques in working not only ‘within’ the community but more importantly, ‘with’ the community.

Recruit Young Business Agency – Dina Douglas (Do It Award £5,000)

This social enterprise proposes to provide an online recruitment facility for young individuals looking to enter the job market. The proposition is that candidates would use social media to showcase their skills using Interactive media which is more demonstrably comprehensive than a CV. 

Fluid Motion – Alun Bonello  (Do It Award £5,000)

Fluid Motion is a community health project providing hydrotherapy and aquatic rehabilitation at local swimming pools to be led by Osteopaths and Physiotherapists. The concept is to make community based musculoskeletal healthcare and support more affordable and accessible so that people can better self-manage their musculoskeletal condition.

Hill End Writing Retreats – Ben Wilkins (Do It Award £5,000)

The project aims to better utilise Hill End’s facilities during winter by delivering high quality writing retreats for professional, academic and creative writers. The project will generate an additional revenue stream (as rent payments) for Hill End to deliver their mission. The remaining profits will be used to provide free writing residential events at Hill End during the October and February half-terms for gifted and talented pupils in Oxford who would otherwise struggle to access extended personal and academic support.

The OBSEA judges debate the applications

London 2012 Gold Medallist, Dr Katherine Grainger CBE and incoming Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University has been involved in the OBSEA programme since it began in 2012, she said:  “I am really sorry that I can't be with you tonight due to training commitments that mean I am overseas. Having a goal and setting yourself a target about something you feel passionate about is important both as a student and in life generally and all the better if it involves helping people who are less fortunate than ourselves.  Whether people are successful today or not they should be proud of what they are doing and should keep moving forward with their vision.”

OBSEA Programme Lead, Roberto Daniele commented:  “Our awards evening honoured all our winners from this year and was a real celebration of achievement. Oxford Brookes has a key role to play in supporting these developing social entrepreneurs, who will hopefully go on to become future change-makers in Oxford, the UK, or potentially across the world. I can’t wait to see what these OBSEA winners will achieve.”

The OBSEA programme is part of a multi-million pound higher education initiative funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England and delivered by UnLtd, the Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs. OBSEA is also grateful for the sponsorship it receives from Santander UK. 

Oxford Brookes University has a long tradition of its students engaging in community action schemes and has been working with Student Hubs to deliver this initiative. More information about OBSEA can be found on the Oxford Brookes website