University backs new social enterprise hatchery for Northamptonshire
Published Thursday 10th March 2011
Northamptonshire’s first social enterprise hatchery – the William Shipley Centre – has opened, providing work and meeting space for anybody in the county that is running a social enterprise.
A joint venture between The University of Northampton and award-winning social enterprise Goodwill Solutions, the hatchery is based at Goodwill's headquarters in Brackmills, Northampton and was officially opened by Michael Ellis, MP for Northampton North.
Social enterprises can be defined as businesses of any scale or ownership that, as part of their central mission, meet a clear societal need either through their core activities, or which dedicates their profits to such a need, or both.
Professor Simon Denny, Social Enterprise Development Director for The University of Northampton, commented:
"Social entrepreneurs need somewhere where they can meet with like minded people to build their social enterprise business. The hatchery comes from an idea that Mike Britton, Managing Director of Goodwill Solutions, had to provide very cheap work spaces where people can not only have a desk but also get the information, advice and training they need to start a new social enterprise.
"It will be the 'starter home' for new social enterprises, including those set up by staff and students from The University of Northampton. The hatchery will support new social enterprises until they move onto innovation centres, such as the successful Portfolio Innovation Centre based at the University's Avenue Campus, or into their own premises.
"The University of Northampton is delighted to be working with Goodwill Solutions; they have a great business model and together we can help people to develop a wide range of new social enterprises.
"This is only the first of the social enterprise hatcheries we have planned for the county."
The social enterprise hatchery is part of the University's vision to become the UK's leading university putting social enterprise at the heart of the student experience.
Professor Denny continued:
"The University is committed to delivering a new student experience, underpinned by a culture of entrepreneurship, research and social enterprise. In delivering this aim, we will become the first university in the UK to integrate both teaching and research activities with social enterprise.
"The new student experience that we offer from October 2011 - to all our students - is that, as part of studying for their degree, they will have opportunity of working in a social enterprise (either that we set up, or one in local community, or one the student sets up), often with the chance of earning money while studying. This unique offer will both significantly enhance our students' employability, and enable many of them to reduce the costs of their investment in their education.
Who is William Shipley?
In 1754, William Shipley, a drawing master living in Northampton, founded a new society - the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce - based on the idea of using 'premiums' to support improvements in the liberal arts and sciences, and to stimulate enterprise for the common good. Premiums were cash prizes, awarded for merit, and from 1756 medals were also awarded.
Shipley's society received its Royal Charter in 1847, becoming the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA).To commemorate Northampton's role in the formation of the RSA, The University of Northampton and Goodwill Solutions selected the name of 'William Shipley Centre' for the county's first social enterprise hatchery.