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Henley wins Highly Commended Award in the FT Responsible Business Education Awards 2024

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In its Responsible Business Education Awards 2024, the Financial Times (FT) has awarded Henley Business School with a Highly Commended Award in the category recognising ‘Best responsible teaching resources: innovative materials with a financial sustainability focus’. 

The FT award recognises Henley’s Social Enterprise Programme led by Dr Amal Ahmadi, which is a collaboration between Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship, Henley Enterprise Lab and two local schools – The Abbey School and Reading School.

The aim of the programme is to provide education and a collaborative network enabling students to support local communities in the Reading area through the principles of social enterprise: People, Planet and Profit for the benefit of all stakeholders involved.

Students from the local sixth forms are invited to Henley’s Whiteknights campus where the programme introduces the social enterprise sector and offers students a comprehensive understanding of various opportunities and challenges surrounding the development, survival and growth of social enterprises.

The programme is interactive and practical, providing opportunities for experiential learning as students develop social enterprise ideas in teams. It involves a combination of lectures and workshops and leads up to the programme finale where teams pitch their social enterprise ideas to a panel of judges. The finale is an opportunity to win awards and funding for those with the strongest potential for delivering sustainable social impact.

Dr Amal Ahmadi, Lecturer in Organisational Behaviour at Henley, said:

“The Social Enterprise Programme showcases the power of business in driving positive change and contributing towards a more sustainable future. Our purpose is to empower youth to develop social enterprises aiming to address social and environmental challenges. In the first run of the programme, students pitched impactful ideas to tackle a range of pressing issues surrounding poverty, homelessness, social care, food waste, sustainable sport, and recycling. The programme has now expanded in reach and teams are working on new social ventures to present at the finale in May 2024."

Dr Amal Ahmadi and Jurek Sikorski, Director of the Henley Enterprise Lab, have worked together on the design of the programme as well as building the relationship with local schools. Amal leads the lectures, and this year will be joined by Dr Anna De Amicis who will deliver two sessions.

The Social Enterprise programme is also supported by 10 students from the Reading Entrepreneurship Society who volunteer as mentors, led by Ellen Whysall, BSc Business and Management (Entrepreneurship) student. Several external social entrepreneurs have been invited as guest speakers.

Savia, student at The Abbey School, said:

“We pitched ideas to a panel of judges who granted my group £1,000 in start-up funding. I have decided to continue developing my project and I am excited to see how far I can take it... 'Bright Pink Bins' aims to eliminate loneliness in the homeless community by providing a means of companionship. The programme has allowed me to make something of my own creation that will continue to develop to actively help my local community”.

The FT awards are now in their third year and acknowledge those institutions, researchers and teachers whose efforts are helping to recast business as pressure mounts on companies to look beyond profit.

Read more about Henley’s Social Enterprise Programme here. 

Published 22 January 2024
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Henley news

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