Three inspirational Greater Manchester entrepreneurs behind local businesses with community benefit at their heart have scooped awards endorsed by Nobel Peace Prize winner Professor Muhammad Yunus.

Organised by the University of Salford, the Yunus Social Business Awards recognise social entrepreneurs and businesses embracing Professor Yunus’s concept of social business, by which someone identifies a social need and creates a non-dividend company to meet this need, helping people and communities to help themselves.

Winner of the Rising Star award, which celebrates social business ideas from 16-22 year olds in Greater Manchester, was James Goddard, founder of AIM Boxing Academy.

The Academy aims to increase the fitness of local young people, specifically targeting those living in deprived areas near or below the poverty line. James is looking to work with the University and Students’ Union to set up an Academy on campus, using existing facilities links to allow students, staff and the local community to box on a weekly basis. It will also work with schools, providing boxing tuition as an incentive for attendance, with all profits reinvested and volunteer help used where available.

James’s award includes a scholarship for a Salford Business School undergraduate programme, plus mentoring to develop his social business idea.

The University of Salford Student award, recognising the contribution of students who support the needs of local communities, was presented to Grant Dolan from Eccles for his vending machine company REAL Vending, which supports young people from financially disadvantaged backgrounds into higher education.

Profits from the vending machines, placed in schools, colleges, training centres and local businesses, are redistributed to provide grants for local students. As the Student award winner, Grant will be invited to Dhaka, Bangladesh, where he will meet Professor Yunus and receive further mentoring to develop his idea.

Greater Manchester Business award winner Mike Green received a trophy for his work in founding StandFirm, an Ancoats-based enterprise which provides skills training, work placements and employment opportunities for those facing significant barriers to employment in the local area.

The organisation supports Mustard Tree charity in Ancoats, which helps homeless local people, and any profits are used to enhance the business and the charity.



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