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Queen Mary University of London launches a ground-breaking social venture fund to empower students

The School of Business and Management at Queen Mary University of London is launching a student-led social venture fund aiming to support long-term social change.

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Queen Mary's students aspire to tackle major societal challenges.
Queen Mary's students aspire to tackle major societal challenges.

The fund will empower students and recent graduate entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds to tackle some of the biggest challenges facing society today.

A UK first

The fund is the first student-led venture capital fund investing in student-led social enterprises in the UK. Built by students, the fund provides opportunities for students to develop their entrepreneurial knowledge and skills with support from industry mentors as well as academics from Queen Mary. Student investors will advise and invest in real-life early-stage start-ups with a social mission.

Dr Joanne Zhang, Director of Entrepreneurship hub & founding academic of the fund said: “Diversity and inclusion remain a barrier to success in the start-up world. It takes start-ups of all shapes and sizes to tackle the challenges in our society today. Recent research shows that doing good has become good business and social impact investing ecosystem is being built from the bottom up. There is no better place to start shaping the future and empowering the next generation of social entrepreneurs and investors from diverse backgrounds.”

Tackling societal challenges

Jamie Macfarlane, CEO of the Creator Fund, a VC fund which is running the training program for the Queen Mary students said “We are thrilled to be working with Queen Mary to teach students about venture capital, and how to find and support high potential startups. Creator Fund invests in student startups across the UK, and we know the potential that universities have to create world leading technology businesses. It is exciting that Queen Mary is focusing on social ventures, and we are proud to be part of an initiative backing students who aspire to tackle major societal challenges.”

The initiative is part of Queen Mary’s Student Knowledge Exchange Through Community Hubs (SKETCH) programme in which students provide pro bono consultancy and venture capital services to East London local communities, start-ups, third sector organisations and beyond.

The social venture fund builds on Queen Mary’s School of Business and Management’s Entrepreneurship programmes,  as well as  Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship which is specifically designed for the social sector. The programme, the first of its kind in the UK, enterprises allows students to earn, learn and change the world.

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