November 17, 2022, by aczjb1

Social Enterprise Day: the Ingenuity Programme

Today is Social Enterprise Day! Here at the Ingenuity Programme, we’re all about social impact and enabling our participants to create change in their communities through enterprise.

Run by Nottingham University Business School, the Ingenuity Programme brings together students, graduates and members of the local community to develop exciting new start-ups and grassroots initiatives that can create meaningful and significant impact.

With a strong commitment to promoting inclusive and diverse social entrepreneurship, we have created a flexible programme designed to fit alongside our participants’ work, study or family commitments.

Last year we partnered with Nuffield Health for the first time, and through this partnership we were able to provide bespoke one-to-one mentoring for each of our participants, supporting them as they developed their business idea to enable them to deliver as much social impact as possible.

Our 2022 Women Entrepreneurs of the Year, Shoana and Caron, are one such example. Shoana and Caron run the People’s Pantry in Radford, an under-served area in Nottingham.

The People’s Pantry was set up to help people on low incomes from falling into the food poverty trap. They are fighting the cost of living crisis by providing members with cheaper groceries from their warehouse in Radford, ensuring that no-one goes hungry in the local community.

Caron Boughassoul (left) and Shoana Qureshi-Khan (centre) at the Ingenuity National Showcase

“The Haydn Green Institute and Ingenuity have really supported us over the last year,” said Shoana. “We had a great idea, but we needed the support and guidance and mentoring to take this forward. It came as a semi-grown idea, and the team has just helped us grow and flourish, and put ideas into fruition. It’s been a priceless experience for us.”

Michaela Lesayova, from Leeds Art University, was one of our Regional Champions for Yorkshire and Humber this year. Her business, livingwell, aims to offer applied creative and nature-connection practices and activities to promote better and more sustainable emotional and core wellbeing of the autistic adults community.

This summer, Michaela designed a new sensory garden at the Airedale Library in Wakefield, a space that offers mental health benefits for everyone, but is especially beneficial for people who have special educational needs, neurodiversity or dementia.

“I was really excited to take up this opportunity with livingwell and to share my love for plants, herbs and flowers and their benefits for neurodivergent individuals and other vulnerable members of our society,” said Michaela. “My goal with this project was to enrich living areas of the local community and to share with them the charms that can be experienced and witnessed in a garden space.”

“I cannot say enough about how being a part of the Ingenuity Impact 2022 cohort has positively affected me and the growth and development of livingwell,” she added.

Photo by Nicholas Singleton

As part of a project funded by Nuffield Health, we were able to work with Frontier Economics to quantify and assess our social impact for the first time.

The 2022 Ingenuity Programme created a social benefit of £3.57 for every £1 invested, and a positive net social impact of £751,000.

The social and economic impacts of the Ingenuity Programme focus on:

  • Business skills gained by individuals
  • Economic value of the businesses created through Ingenuity, that otherwise would not have existed
  • Greater inclusion of under-represented groups in business
  • Social benefits generated by the social enterprises created through Ingenuity

The final area of impact, the downstream social benefits of our new businesses, is still a work in progress. With our 2022 cohort, and the incoming 2022/23 cohort, we will be running workshops and providing support to help them account for their own social impact and identify quantifiable outcomes, which we anticipate will increase and improve our social value further.

“This year is the first year we’ve been able to quantify our social impact, and we were so pleased to see such positive results,” said Programme Director, Elizabeth Smith. “The results emphasised just how important our collaboration with partners, such as Nuffield Health, is in improving the outcomes of the programme. It also highlighted the range of opportunities to further increase our social value through the design of new projects and partnerships, including a ground-breaking enterprise scheme for young people in alternative provision, which we will be launching in 2023.”

With the cost of living crisis, growing health inequalities and increasing climate threats, now more than ever we need to support and invest in the social enterprise sector. If you’re interested in working with us to support the next generation of changemakers, sign up to be a mentor at

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