This new programme aims to give early-career researchers the opportunity to use their skills in a team environment, working on a real and current issue for a Glasgow-based social enterprise. Our three social enterprises came to the University to pitch their 'challenges' on 2nd February. Just by chance, each of the companies had brought along a UofG alumnus as a speaker, showing the diversity of roles that Glasgow Graduates go into. Nancy recently completed a PhD in the School of Education and the social enterprise that she is now working to establish (Networks4learning) has dual social aims for bringing computing science education to under-represented groups in Scotland as well as to countries in East Africa. Matt (with a background in History of Art) recently founded the 'Freedom Bakery', making artisan bread in one of Scotland's prisons, whilst Angela (an English lit grad) has started a cafe in the south side of the city, providing training and community building for refugees and asylum seekers. Each of the social enterprises had a different business model and the room buzzed with energy and ideas as our visitors talked through the challenges they are facing as new ventures, having to balance paying the bills with delivering their social aims.
We now have four multi-disciplinary teams of early-career researchers working on specific projects with these enterprises, which they will present back on at the end of March. We hope that their findings will be beneficial to the businesses but also that the researchers will come away with a better insight into both their own skills and also into social enterprise as a possible career option. The final presentations will take place on 22nd March at 2pm in the Gilchrist PG Club seminar room. Come along to find out what they've come up with!