Funding the future's social changemakers

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

OBSEA social innovation

Oxford Brookes is inviting budding social entrepreneurs and innovators to come and find out more about their award-winning programme which launches again next week (28 September).

The Oxford Brookes Social Entrepreneur Awards (OBSEA) is a programme for students, staff and recent graduates. Now in its fifth year, OBSEA provides the resources, networks, confidence and funding that participants need to start to think creatively about solving some of the world’s most pressing social issues.

Participants develop their own journey as a social changemaker within one of three core OBSEA strands: social entrepreneurship, social innovation or volunteering in a social enterprise.

They will receive comprehensive training and mentoring including the opportunity to attend conferences and workshops. Award winners are each eligible for a cash award of between £3000-£5000 on average to further develop their ideas with additional mentoring support from experienced social entrepreneurs.

The launch event will take place on Wednesday 28 September from 3.00pm-5.00pm in The Kennedy Room (JHB 308) of the John Henry Brookes Building on Headington Campus.

The OBSEA programme gave us the skills and knowledge to realise our goals of starting a social enterprise.

Sam Kamperis, Postgraduate student, Oxford Brookes University

Guest speaker at the event will be Olympic Gold Medallist rower and social entrepreneur, Tim Foster MBE. His lecture, ‘What Social Entrepreneurs can learn from the Olympics’, will focus and contrast the qualities of the elite athlete and the social entrepreneur and what are the necessary conditions for success in both.

Postgraduate students Sam Kamperis and Aya Kasai, currently completing MPhil/PhD Research Degree Programmes, completed the OBSEA programme and partnered to apply for an OBSEA award in 2015. With their award they founded the Contemporary Arts Research Unit (CARU), an artist and researcher-lead platform, designed to bring creative and academic work out of studios and offices to share and exchange ideas with the public.

Sam said: "The OBSEA programme gave us the confidence, skills and knowledge to realise our goals of starting a social enterprise. You become part of a strong community of like-minded students and staff that share a drive for affecting social change. It has been a life changing experience!"

OBSEA Dragons Den event 2015

OBSEA is part of the Oxfordshire Social Entrepreneurship Partnership (OSEP) launched in 2014 as a major new umbrella partnership for social entrepreneurship in Oxfordshire, formed through collaboration between Oxford Brookes University, the University of Oxford and Student Hubs.  

Jeff Willmore, OBSEA Programme Co-ordinator at Oxford Brookes University said: “The rapid growth of social entrepreneurship within the higher education sector mirrors the trend across the UK and globally. Equally the expansion of OBSEA to embrace social innovation and allow participants to ‘apprentice with the problem’ through supervised placements reflects a wider evolution in social entrepreneurship networks.” 

To register for the OBSEA launch event and find out more information about the programme visit the website.

The programme has been funded by generous donations from Santander and from Brookes alumni.