Marjon News

Social Enterprise for the 21st Century

Released: 30.07.15


The University has been commended by Plymouth City Council Leader Tudor Evans in recognition of its commitment to Social Enterprise. 

It has become one of only four universities in the UK to have been awarded the Social Enterprise Mark. This makes Plymouth, which was the UK's first social enterprise city, the only city in the UK with two Universities accredited for social enterprise work.

Councillor Leader Tudor Evans said: “Higher education is at the heart of social enterprise and it’s fantastic to see the University recognised for the public benefit it continues to bring to our communities; through several projects including the increasing work with NHS rehabilitation programmes, the innovative work with Macmillan Cancer Support, and the University’s values which provide a set of guiding principles to enable students of today to become leaders of tomorrow who will address the global challenges of the 21st Century.”

Professor Brendon Noble, Executive Dean of Research, Postgraduate and Innovation at the University of St Mark & St John said: “We’re extremely proud to have been awarded the Social Enterprise Mark and the University is absolutely committed to supporting social enterprise and consequently helping local communities and the broader South West region to thrive and prosper.

“Our students will continue to contribute to our social enterprise philosophy through the skills they have acquired while studying; a strong volunteering ethos and positive attitude towards growing a better society”.

Lucy Findlay, Managing Director, Social Enterprise Mark CIC, added: “We are delighted to award the prestigious Social Enterprise Mark to the University of St Mark & St John. Social enterprises work to many different priorities, so it's great to see a vital, local university understanding the importance of demonstrating the social value of their organisation.”

The Social Enterprise Mark CIC is the UK and international certification authority that safeguards social enterprise credentials.  Only organisations that can prove they put people and planet before shareholder profit are awarded a license to display the Social Enterprise Mark.         

The University of St Mark & St John is on a new trajectory having secured HEFCE (Higher Education Funding Council for England) funding of nearly £3million to enable the development of new courses, infrastructure, and the estate. It ranks as first in the UK for social mobility and has the highest-ranking graduate employment of the four Universities in Devon and Cornwall, with 95% of graduates achieving employment within six months.

Subjected to an assessment process that is overseen by an independent Certification Panel, the University of St Mark & St John’s detailed activities, company documents and accounts were scrutinised.  As a result the University of St Mark & St John has earned the Social Enterprise Mark guarantee that income is used to the benefit of making a positive impact on the local society and economy.

The University of St Mark & St John joins other ethical organisations that have been recognised by the Social Enterprise Mark, such as the Age UK Enterprises, Eden Project, Big Issue, and the Phone Coop.

Government data estimates that there are 70,000 social enterprises across the UK, contributing over £24 billion to the economy and employing around a million people. 

Social enterprises plough the majority of their profits back into activities that benefit people and planet, rather than just lining shareholders pockets.  However, some businesses are taking advantage as there is no legal definition for them. The Social Enterprise Mark is the guardian of genuine social enterprise principles. It safeguards these principles through the independent Certification process. 


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