Social enterprise research gets presidential seal of approval

08 Jun 2011 10:07:17.023

PA 179/11

After being awarded the Nottingham Roosevelt Scholarship, University of Nottingham graduate Sheridan Chilvers is to spend three months researching the growth of social enterprises in the USA.

The former Environmental Management masters student, will travel across America to research how these organisations could be developed to provide a significant boost to the UK economy.

While there, Sheridan will look at the structure and funding, resource availability and social and environmental impact of social enterprises, before meeting Haven Roosevelt, Patron of the Scholarship and the grandson of the late President Franklin Roosevelt.

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After securing the scholarship, Sheridan revealed that he was delighted to have the opportunity to research businesses driven by a social or environmental purpose, in a country often seen as a leader in social innovation through its philanthropic foundations, use of technological innovations and support networks.

He said: “In the UK alone there are estimated to be over 60,000 social enterprises generating over £24bn to the UK economy and both figures are growing. With major social sector institutions often viewed as inefficient, ineffective and unresponsive there is a need for new business models to meet the needs and expectations of the 21st Century. I believe social enterprises could be the ‘change-agents’ needed in the economy.”

While keen to continue his research, Sheridan is no stranger to being directly involved in enterprise after acting as an Environmental Advisor for the Nottingham University branch of Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE); an organisation which develops local and international community projects.

He explained: “Through SIFE I developed a student food project called Food 4 Thought which was backed by the British Council. I was also involved in the Nottingham Entrepreneurs society which provides a forum and networking opportunities for students interested in setting up a business.”

News of Sheridan’s scholarship has been welcomed by his former Course Director and Associate Professor of Rural Environmental Geography, Dr Carol Morris, who said the award was very much deserved.

Dr Morris said: “Sheridan was an extremely dynamic and enthusiastic student who always sought out opportunities to gain ‘extra-curricular’ experience and the knowledge to ‘make a difference’ in the world.

“He developed an interest in the relationship between business and the environment and this was fostered through his dissertation research and an optional module that he studied on social enterprise. Like many of the students who come to study for the Masters in Environmental Management, in the School of Geography, he recognised the importance of a post-graduate qualification if he was to secure a position within the environmental sector.

“I have no doubt that the skills Sheridan developed during his time on the Masters programme, both in and beyond the classroom, will be invaluable to his Roosevelt Scholarship.”

Final year Creative Writing student Deborah Stephenson was also presented with a scholarship to fund a four to six week trip to the states. Deborah will be using her time to consider the effect that poetry and the spoken word can have on young people.

She explained: “America has been the birthplace of new popularity, growth and innovation in creative writing, poetry and the spoken word. I hope to learn how this creativity can be used to develop relationships between educational institutions and the community.”

The Roosevelt Scholarship enables anyone aged between 21 and 30, who lives or works in Nottingham to visit the USA in order to investigate a work-related topic of their choice and experience the American way of life.

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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham, described by The Sunday Times University Guide 2011 as ‘the embodiment of the modern international university’, has award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and the QS World University Rankings. It was named ‘Europe’s greenest university’ in the UI GreenMetric World University Ranking, a league table of the world’s most environmentally-friendly higher education institutions, which ranked Nottingham second in the world overall.

The University is committed to providing a truly international education for its 40,000 students, producing world-leading research and benefiting the communities around its campuses in the UK and Asia.

More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranked the University 7th in the UK by research power.

The University’s vision is to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health.

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For more information please contact Dr Carol Morris, Associate Professor of Rural Environmental Geography, at  
Harry Waddle

Harry Waddle - Students Communications Officer

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 823 2353 Location: University Park

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Published Date
Thursday 13th October 2011

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