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University of London partners in London Social Venture Fund


A new London Social Venture Fund will provide early funding for new London startups pursuing a social goal.

London Skyline include the roof of The British Museum

Funded by Research England’s Connecting Capability Fund, the initiative is led by Queen Mary University of London and UCL, with backing from the School of Advanced Study, University of London. It will bring together an innovative coalition of London universities and partners to raise a permanent self-sustaining fund that will back social ventures emerging across the capital.

Jo Fox, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean, School of Advanced Study, said:

“The University is deeply committed to fostering a culture of innovation, entrepreneurship, and collaboration within its academic and student community. The fund is an exciting opportunity to drive positive change and create lasting impact by uniting our efforts across our member institutions, with universities in the wider London higher education sector, and through the University’s London Research and Policy Partnership (LRaPP) with the Greater London Authority. By connecting the extensive network of UOL/SAS with a shared mission to promote and support research at the national level, we can unlock a multitude of opportunities for knowledge exchange, cross-disciplinary collaborations, and social entrepreneurship.”

Dr Phil Clare, Chief Executive of Queen Mary Innovation, said:

“This project is all about benefiting London through social entrepreneurship. There’s been an explosion of interest in social ventures in recent years, as academics, students, and indeed all members of university communities are turning to commercial tools to tackle the myriad problems we face in our society.”

The project, which is funded by Research England, will build a pipeline of new ventures from London universities and develop a London-wide university support network of legal support, business model development and mentoring. Furthermore, the universities hope to gather sufficient data to demonstrate proof of concept for this approach and share the lessons learned with like-minded colleagues across the UK.

Social ventures set up by academics and students are going from strength to strength in Britain, yet significant hurdles remain which the Social Venture Fund seeks to address.

Professor Colin Bailey, President and Principal of Queen Mary University of London said:

I am delighted that this unique partnership of universities, companies, and local authorities has come together to harness our capabilities and experience to deliver a social venture pipeline that will benefit our communities for years to come.

The London Social Venture Fund Project launches this autumn. The participating universities are:

  • Queen Mary University of London
  • UCL
  • London Metropolitan University
  • London Business School
  • King’s College London
  • University of London
  • Goldsmiths University of London
  • University of the Arts London
  • London School of Economics
  • University of East London
  • City University.

Other partners and investors include Barclays Eagle Labs, Sodexo, Central London Forwards, Royal Docks, Royal Albert Docks, the London Borough of Newham, and the Federation of Small Businesses.