Social Entrepreneurship Awards

Social Entrepreneurship Awards in the UK

The Heart [Photo by Neurofibromatosis - Reggie Bibbs] (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Digi Steps is a social enterprise run by school pupils from Avonbourne School in Bournemouth, UK. The students are the latest winners of the Prime Minister’s Big Society Awards, which are social entrepreneurship awards given to recognize outstanding community achievement.

The students in Digi Steps share their internet and computer skills with senior citizens in their area via one-on-one after school lessons. Students have been showing seniors basic internet skills including email, video calls, booking train tickets, selling online and researching their hobbies. The overall aim of the project is to prevent digital exclusion and build community.

The Prime Minister said that these young people are providing a high value service for others in their community while also developing their own skills and business sense. It’s a good example of how the generations can be brought together to help build a stronger community.

Spanish Social Entrepreneurship Awards for Bill Drayton

The Spanish Prince of Asturias social entrepreneurship awards are designed to honor the best and brightest social entrepreneurs wold wide. From a field of 25 nominees US activist Bill Drayton, founder and president of Ashoka, was selected at the 2011 award recipient.

Drayton coined the term ‘social entrepreneur‘ to describe those individuals who combine the goal-oriented methods of business with the aims of social reform. The award jury praised Drayton’s creative ideas for applying economic sustainability criteria to promote social change and his efforts to encourage the work of young, creative entrepreneurs.

Ashoka uses a rigorous selection process to choose its social entrepreneurs through exhaustive analysis of their projects and character. Each Asturias award is accompanied by a 50,000 euro cash prize, and recipients also receive a sculpture by Joan Miro that represents and symbolizes the awards.

Social Entrepreneurship Awards in Ireland

Bill Gates speaks to staff at DFID [Photo by DFID - UK Department for International Development] (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Sheila Gallagher of Galway, Ireland has been announced as a finalist in a prestigious social entrepreneurship awards competition. The Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Awards 2011 will feature 8 finalists competing for part of 650,000 euro prize. Gallagher is a well-known local environmental activist who is founder of Galway Environmental Alliance.

She is representing Green Sod Land Trust in the competition as one of the founder directors of the organization, which was set up in 2006 to protect and conserve land and ecosystems. The trust is a national charitable organization that has been proactive in addressing environmental challenges through conservation and education. It is now one of eight organizations vying for the prize, which is supported by DCC plc.

The decision was made to raise the total prize money this year by over a third in response to the rapid growth of social entrepreneurship in Ireland and the rising need for the services that social entrepreneurs provide.