Higher education heretic, social innovation junkie, Arsenal saddo.
I’ve wanted to get a Dr Dre reference into a blogpost for about a decade, and there I’ve gone and done it. Booya!
If someone had told me five years ago, when I first waded into the murky world of social entrepreneurship education, that I’d be welcoming 30 institutions (mainly from a small geographical belt in and around Chennai) who had either embedded social entrepreneurship in their curriculum or outside it, I might have laughed in your face.
But that’s exactly what happened yesterday, when we held the first follow-up meeting to the inaugural annual conference of the UK-India Social Entrepreneurship Education Network, once more in Chennai at IIT Madras.
The first conference was a roaring, unbridled success, and you can read more about that here.
This time around we were launching our refreshed website, which you can visit here, and the launch of the first UK-India Social Innovation Challenge tackling the UN Sustainable Development Goal (No 6) Clean Water and Sanitation (information here).
For the uninitiated, our network seeks to promote collaboration between UK and Indian universities working in social entrepreneurship education. Specifically, we’re interested in catalysing the bilateral flow of talent, technology and models for social entrepreneurship. The network works at three levels: connecting faculty and higher education institutions in each country with each other, acting as a showcase for student social entrepreneurship, and bringing ecosystem players into dialogue with both. Someone a lot smarter than me could probably devise an amazing diagram to illustrate our aspirations succinctly HINT HINT).
Our refreshed website will allow network members (universities, student social entrepreneurs, ecosystem players and mentors) to connect with others by posting their own profiles and searching others. We hope that, over time, we can attract mentors to the site who can search social ventures by a Sustainable Development Goal tag and a geographical location (at the very least). Through the open innovation platform Babele, we will be able to provide the means for remote online mentorship, helping us to scale our pool of mentors.
Over to you
So how you can get involved? Well, if you’re working at an UK or Indian higher education institution looking to connect with others in either country, join as members. If you’re a member of the SE ecosystem in either country and want to know what universities are getting up to, you can join too. If you’re a student with a SE project in need of funding, mentorship or collaborators, post a project. If you’re looking for mentorship opportunities, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or me personally at P.Pathak@soton.ac.uk (it might take some time for us to upload projects).
One thing that’s come across loud and clear is that the individual enthusiasm for social entrepreneurship at institutions across India and the UK is huge, but often hampered by a lack of visibility and channels to funders and mentors. Collectively we’re a lot more powerful, so we hope that you’ll join us to continue growing the network.