University recognised internationally as the UK’s number one for social enterprise

Date 12.11.2015

Ashoka U is the global association of the world’s leading universities supporting social entrepreneurs – people working together to create solutions for the world’s most urgent social problems.

The University of Northampton is the first in the UK to be awarded this honour, and one of only 22 in the world to receive the designation, joining prestigious institutions such as Cornell University, Duke University, the University of Colorado and Tulane University. By showing an exceptional level of understanding and commitment to social innovation and entrepreneurship, the University of Northampton proved its dedication to producing social entrepreneurs and change makers of the future.

The award came after an intensive 12-month process during which every aspect of the University’s social enterprise strategy, philosophy and ethos was tested; from its leadership and culture, to its social enterprise curriculum and impact.

The process culminated at the International Ashoka U Exchange held in San Diego, USA from 20 to 23 February 2013, where three panels of internationally respected experts interviewed the University’s Change Leaders Tim Curtis and Wray Irwin, and recognised the University as an exceptional Changemaker Campus.

Michele Leaman, from Ashoka U commented: “The University of Northampton’s commitment is so powerful it can be seen everywhere you look across the institution. For particular attention the panel highlighted the University’s strength in leadership, commitment to the student experience and curriculum and its efforts to measure impact on society as a result of this commitment. Social innovation and entrepreneurship is on every corner at Northampton, offering a unique example of a Changemaker Campus.”

The University’s team consisted of Sue Allen, Executive Dean of Student Experience, Tim Curtis, Senior Lecturer in Social Innovation in Communities, and Wray Irwin, Deputy Director of Social Entrepreneurship. They accepted the designation in front of over 600 delegates at the Ashoka U Exchange from Ashoka founder and internationally renowned social entrepreneur Bill Drayton.

Sue Allen commented: “This designation sets the University of Northampton apart from all other universities in the UK, as it is a testament to the efforts of all the staff and students.”

In praising the work of everyone at the University in this achievement, the Vice-Chancellor Nick Petford, said: “This is fantastic news. It not only recognises the amazing things the University has achieved as number one for social enterprise, the Ashoka U Changemaker Campus designation sends a clear message that the University of Northampton is the place to be if you want to be a change maker of the future.”

For more information regarding Ashoka U visit their website.

Watch the interview with Michele Leaman from Ashoka U when she visited the University of Northampton in December, on YouTube.

For more information on the designation contact Tim Curtis ( or Wray Irwin (