Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs programme, in partnership with School for Social Entrepreneurs - winner of the Charity & Community Engagement Sponsorship category 2015



Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs is a pioneering programme supporting people who have the vision to make a difference to their communities. The programme launched in 2012 providing social entrepreneurs with comprehensive active learning education programmes, mentor support and grants from £4,000 - £15,000. Our mission is to help 1,300 social enterprises start or scale-up by 2017, in partnership with the School for Social Entrepreneurs and the Big Lottery Fund. The programme sits right at the heart of Lloyds Bank’s strategy to help Britain prosper. It is a flagship programme designed to support communities and, through entrepreneurs, help stimulate economic growth and regeneration across the UK. 

Campaign Background

As part of its helping Britain Prosper Plan, Lloyds believes in helping its communities thrive. It aims to achieve this through three pillars of activity: Education, Enterprise and Employability. The partnership with the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) allows it to help communities across all three and with 17 years experience designing and delivering action learning programmes for social entrepreneurs, SSE was the bank’s ideal delivery partner. 

Two bespoke programmes were developed whereby social entrepreneurs could learn from their peers, build new networks, and be challenged by practitioners. The programme is split into Start-Up and Scale-Up with both programmes offering a fully funded active learning programme for a year; financial grant; and mentor. Start-Up is for people with a new idea whilst Scale-Up is for those looking to grow an established organisation. 

Many entrepreneurs create social enterprises borne out of personal experience and are passionate about addressing a need often generated by a shortfall in central funding. With entrepreneurs being an integral part of the UK’s economic recovery, Lloyds is proud to be supporting individuals and organisations which are helping Britain prosper. 

Alastair Wilson, Chief Executive of the School for Social Entrepreneurs, said: “We are delighted that Lloyds Bank has taken the lead in making such a significant commitment to supporting social entrepreneurs. Economic growth and regeneration in the UK will come from people working locally. This partnership will make a real and lasting difference.”

Objectives and Solutions

Three key objectives:

  • Rebuild trust and reputation 
  • Rebuild colleague pride 
  • Help stakeholders understand all the bank does to help Britain prosper 

In addition, in 2014, within its inaugural Prosper Plan, Lloyds publicly committed:  “We’ll help businesses to start up and scale up” with a metric of 1,300 entrepreneurs supported through the Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneurs programmes by 2017.

The solution was to add value to social entrepreneurs and, in partnership with SSE, help them to start or scale-up their own enterprises. The Social Entrepreneurs programme is delivered in twelve locations across England and Scotland. In recognition of its first year’s success, the Big Lottery Fund has also provided investment, to extend the reach of the programme, leading to the creation of 4,000 jobs and reaching 120,000 people in communities. 

Social entrepreneurs are supported through a fully funded active learning education programme delivered through the SSE for a year; plus a financial grant and mentor from Lloyds. 

Supporting the SSE to run this programme underscores Lloyds Bank’s commitment to make a difference within the communities in which it operates and this community based education and learning sponsorship contributes to the bank’s ambition of ‘helping Britain prosper’ by aligning specifically to its three goals of Education, Enterprise and Employability. 

Execution and Exploitation


Lloyds Bank works closely with SSE to recruit social entrepreneurs to the programme and is about to launch this year’s recruitment campaign. 

Direct emails, tweets and website advertising promote the programme digitally to a targeted audience, with case studies available on: www.yourideastartshere.co.uk

Postcards and posters were distributed to relevant locations in the local community.  

Taster sessions were held at each school. Alumni and tutors shared their insight and experience. 

To be accepted on to the programme, students complete an application form, are vetted, and participate in an interview followed by a ‘dragon’s den’ style panel and are then signed off by an SSE Subcommittee. 

Lloyds colleagues are encouraged to nominate social entrepreneurs in their local community to apply, utilising the bank’s community aware networks internally. 

Mentors and colleague engagement

Each social entrepreneur is appointed a manager from Lloyds as a mentor who provides advice and guidance. Many continue to have an informal relationship with their initial students and/ or reapplied to be mentors in the third year. The mentors also act as advocates for the programme. 

Student materials

All SSE education materials, including a welcome pack and grant information, feature the bank’s brand.


To celebrate the entrepreneurs successful completion of the programme, and their achievements during the year, each school hosts a graduation event. This involves a presentation from each student, an address from the school and bank representative, and the awarding of graduation certificates. Local MPs, stakeholders and media attend and content is captured of all graduates. Graduates are then celebrated in local and specialist media. 

Social Entrepreneurs of the Year Award (SEYA)

The SEYA awards are the showcase event for the partnership. Five finalists from the Scale Up programme were promoted in their communities, in local branches, in media and online and through the bank’s intranet. 

Short films were produced showcasing the finalists, hosted on the SSE website and promoted through social media and the public was encouraged to vote online. All finalists were profiled and supported in local and vertical media and the Daily Telegraph announced the winner following a ceremony in central London.

Other entrepreneurs from the programme had the opportunity to showcase their products and services at the SEYA event, in a social enterprise expo which also generated media and colleague interest and which the Minister for Civil Society supported. 

Media and communications

The bank helps to raise the profile of social entrepreneurs and their enterprises through providing PR guidance and media engagement. 

A selection of entrepreneurs have also been profiled in their local and specialist media and all receive PR toolkits including key narrative and how to work with media. Lloyds has recently developed a PR workshop to help entrepreneurs promote their own businesses. 

Evening Standard Frontline London

A parallel partnership with SSE and the Evening Standard enhances the Bank’s social entrepreneur programme, supporting ten additional young London-based social entrepreneurs from challenging backgrounds. The programme is regularly profiled in the Standard and entrepreneurs graduated in February 2015.  

Business support

The Lloyds procurement team is now working with a number of social entrepreneurs who’ve been supported by the programme. 

In addition, Lloyds is exploring products and services which could help social entrepreneurs’ business development and the Group Sourcing team is exploring wider sustainable sourcing practices which could encourage social entrepreneurs to be key contributors to the supply chain.  

Political Engagement

Various local MPs, the Minister for Civil Society and local Mayors and Heads of Council have been involved in the Social Entrepreneur programme meeting students and helping to showcase it. 

Outcome and Evaluation

The sponsorship is achieving objectives:

Rebuilding trust and reputation:

  • 95% satisfaction score amongst entrepreneurs – an increase from 82% in Y1 (SSE)
  • 99% would recommend the programme to others (SSE)

Rebuilding colleague pride:

  • 632 colleagues have mentored entrepreneurs to date

Helping customers/ media/ stakeholders understand all that the bank does to help Britain prosper:

  • 400% increase in awareness amongst MPs: summer 2013 – summer 2014 (MORI)
  • 40,000 visits to programme site - 60% by new visitors  - during recruitment period – 3rd Feb-3rd April 2014
  • 3,966 downloads of application form during recruitment period – 3rd Feb-3rd April 2014
  • Over 3,000 votes for SEYA 2014 

Programme overview:

  • 274 social entrepreneurs graduated in 2013/14
  • 44,700 beneficiaries from 2013/14 enterprises (223% increase in reach)
  • £11,155,073 turnover from 2013/14 enterprises (79% increase)
  • 297 social entrepreneurs joined 2014/15 cohort
  • 320 communities provided social entrepreneurs to date 
  • 100% programmes delivered, programme days delivered and students recruited
  • 91.3% retention rate of students (vs 80% target)
  • 1,300 entrepreneurs to be supported over five years
  • £7.5 million in grants to be distributed in five years
  • 1,560 contact hours delivered on the programme per year (100% of target)
  • 3,568 volunteering hours delivered by mentors to date
  • Five year survival rate of SSE Fellows (alumni) 20% higher than UK businesses generally
  • 174 pieces of coverage Jan – Dec 2014


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