2020 Cambridge Centre for Social Innovation Challenge for Extraordinary UK Social Innovators.

Deadline: March 9, 2020.

The Cambridge Centre for Social Innovation and Trinity Hall, one of the oldest colleges in Cambridge, have partnered to celebrate and support extraordinary social innovators.

This prize, awarded for the first time in 2019, rewards achievement and ambition in social innovation. It celebrates social impact through business across the UK, from Land’s End to John O’Groats. We are looking for extraordinary business leaders whose work creates social change, whether that’s in a local community or on a national level.


The winners will be people with a proven track record (five to 10 years) of social impact through business, as an entrepreneur or an intrapreneur, and who are bubbling over with ambitious plans for the future. For example:

  • Founder or senior leader in a social enterprise.
  • Leader of a corporate social innovation project.
  • Leader of a public sector spin-out or trading subsidiary of a charity.

This award celebrates social impact through business across the UK. Eligible candidates should meet the following criteria:

  1. UK-based: This prize is intended to support social innovators whose primary social impact is in the UK. They should be based in the UK or have a strong connection to the UK. You do not have to be a UK citizen.
  2. Dedicated to social impact: The winners must show a commitment to social impact and creating positive social change, whatever that means in the context of their work.
  3. Businesses (or business-like): This prize is intended for people making social impact through business and entrepreneurship. That said, the line between charity, corporate and the public sector is increasingly blurry! Leaders of charities, non-profits and public sector organisations are very welcome to apply, if their work is driven by self-generated revenue. Organisations or projects which are primarily philanthropic or grant-funded, while important and impactful, are outside the scope of this prize.


1. Up to four winners will receive £10,000 each to develop the skills, resources and networks they need to scale the impact of their work, develop a new project, or pursue new possibilities.

2. An expert business advisor will support the winners for six to 12 months to develop their own leadership capacity, make connections into Cambridge networks, and think through strategic challenges.

3. You will also join a community of outstanding social innovators: a platform for collaboration and new ideas, an opportunity to connect with experts and deepen your social impact.


ocial innovation comes in many forms, and the nature of social impact varies depending on the context, but there are some broad characteristics that we are looking to reward.

  1. Compelling leadership. We look for leaders with a clear vision, who are credible, knowledgeable social innovators, no matter what their background, education, age or postcode.
  2. Creativity and imagination. Has this person shown an innovative, creative approach? Are they solving social problems and developing business models in a new way?
  3. Social impact. Is this person changing the world for the better? Is their work built on a strong impact assessment framework?
  4. Scalability and sustainability. Has this person successfully scaled their social impact, in a manner appropriate to the context of their work? Can the venture be sustainable in the long term without philanthropic donations or grants?
  5. Vision and ambition. We reward leaders who have a ambitious, socially impactful plans for the future, whatever that means in the context of their work, and who can describe a clear pathway to achieve this.


The first stage is a short online application.

Application form:

  • Basic information about you and your social venture or project.
  • Basic financial data: turnover, profit/loss, percentage income through trading.
  • Achievements: Personal statement, addressing the criteria (less than 500 words).
  • Ambitions: What are your future plans and how might this award help you? (less than 500 words).


Your two most recent annual accounts or equivalent, plus any two of the following:

  • Business plan / project proposal / strategic plan.
  • Pitch deck / presentation.
  • Social impact assessment report.
  • Annual report / end-of-project report.
  • Research report / policy paper / academic paper.
  • Media / news article / video / testimonial.
  • Other equivalent documents: you can provide other types of documents but at least one must be from our list above.

Contact details for two referees

  • One mentor, board member, investor or advisor who knows you in a personal and professional capacity.
  • One employee, service user, beneficiary, colleague or project partner who can give a testimonial to your work.



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