Each year 150 inspiring individuals across eight locations will share over £1m in funded training and grants through their local School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE).

The Lloyds Banking Group Social Entrepreneurs Programme has been made possible thanks to a major funding commitment from Lloyds Banking Group and additional investment from Nominet Trust.

Simon Hughes MP will help get the recruitment drive underway at a special launch reception at the House of Lords on 26 April. He said: “I am very pleased to support the launch of the Lloyds Banking Group Social Entrepreneurs Programme. This programme has the potential to empower many individuals around the country to develop lasting solutions to poverty and disadvantage in their communities.”

Alastair Wilson, Chief Executive of the School for Social Entrepreneurs, said: “To tackle the huge social and environmental challenges that we face today, we need to recruit inspirational people with entrepreneurial flair from our communities – and give them the best tools to succeed.

“This is about real people striving to make a difference in real places. Social change doesn’t happen by itself. It needs action, organisation and leadership in those communities.

“Our vision is to build a force of community entrepreneurs who will unleash the potential for people powered change in their communities, leading initiatives that bring business skills and social aims together to lift the fortunes of hundreds of thousands of people.”

Paul Turner, Community and Sustainable Business Director at Lloyds Banking Group, said: “Social Entrepreneurs, with the right support and funding, have the passion, foresight and drive to become a powerful force for change and make a visible and long-lasting difference in their local area. We are proud of the support we are able to provide. “

Annika Small, Chief Executive of Nominet Trust, a UK-based social investor that brings together and supports people committed to using digital technologies to make society better, commented: “We’re keen to encourage entrepreneurs to make imaginative use of digital technology to design new approaches to big social challenges. In the same way that the internet has transformed communications, retail and work, we believe it can support radically new, more effective solutions to long-standing social problems and improve lives and communities.

“As the UK’s leading social investor in this space, we hope that successful graduates from this programme will work with us to scale up their initiatives.”

What is the scheme about?

The Lloyds Banking Group Social Entrepreneurs Programme opens for applications on 26 April. Applications will close on 25 May and delivery will begin in October 2012.

The programme will support 150 social entrepreneurs* each year, for five years, with comprehensive support from the SSE through its innovative ‘action learning’ programmes, plus grants of £4,000 and £15,000 and an annual £25,000 award:

  • 130 ‘Start Up’ awards: grants of £4,000, a place on a Start Up SSE learning programme delivered in eight UK locations and access to networks and continued alumni support following their completion of the programme;
  • 20 ‘Scale Up’ awards: grants of £15,000 and a place on a Scale Up SSE learning programme delivered at SSE headquarters in London, plus access to networks and continued alumni support following their completion of the programme; and
  • 1 ‘Lloyds Banking Group Social Entrepreneur of the year’ award, given to a Scale Up applicant who demonstrates outstanding potential. The award includes a place on the National Scale Up SSE learning programme, access to networks and continued alumni support following their completion of the programme and a grant of £25,000 to scale their organisation.