THE Minister for Civil Society, Rob Wilson MP visited social entrepreneurs at the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) North West, in Liverpool on Thursday 12th May. The Minister congratulated the PowerUP Liverpool social entrepreneurs who had recently graduated from the scheme. The PowerUP Liverpool scheme is aimed at potential social entrepreneurs who have been affected by gang culture and those from disadvantaged backgrounds who are committed to reforming their lives. PowerUP Liverpool was launched by the Minister in March 2015 and the ten Liverpool City Region based social entrepreneurs who participated were supported by mentors from Lloyds Banking Group and took part in an action learning programme delivered by SSE, funded by the Cabinet Office. The Minister also spent time with social entrepreneurs participating in a training session for the Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs programme; another initiative run in partnership with the SSE North West, part of the Blackburne House group, with funding from the Big Lottery Fund and an assigned business mentor from Lloyds Banking Group. Minister for Civil Society, Rob Wilson, said: “PowerUP Liverpool has had a striking impact on these young people, who are changing their lives for the better after being affected by gang and gun crime. Funding this programme with the School for Social Entrepreneurs provides support to help these young people become important contributors to their community through social enterprise. “Having the support of Lloyds Banking Group and SSE has really boosted this scheme and is helping us to build a bigger, stronger society.” Adam Taylor, PowerUP graduate and founder of This is My Story Limited said: “The PowerUP programme has had a very positive impact on me personally and my work. I have been given some great advice and guidance by the School for Social Entrepreneurs team, my mentor from the Lloyds Banking Group, as well as the guest speakers who have very kindly given up their time to come and speak to us.” Caroline Cuthbertson, Area Director, Merseyside, West Lancs & North Wales, Mid Markets, Commercial Banking, Lloyds Banking Group said: “Liverpool is proving to be a leading hub of social enterprise and it is fantastic to see the impact that colleague mentors have had on supporting those making a social contribution to the region. With Lloyds Banking Group’s commitment to helping Britain prosper, through its people, businesses and communities, it is great to see first-hand the difference that social enterprise can make.” Sylvia Pearson, Head of the School for Social Entrepreneurs North West said: “We have been thrilled to support the PowerUP students on their journey to fully fledged social entrepreneurs and I am delighted that the Minister was able to revisit the programme in Liverpool today to congratulate the graduates, having been instrumental in its launch.” Social enterprise plays a central role in Lloyds Banking Group’s Helping Britain Prosper Plan, which outlines the Group’s commitment to help businesses of all types and sizes to prosper, by offering them the funding, the support and the encouragement they need to grow at home and abroad. The Group is committed to supporting 270 social entrepreneurs this year and 1,300 by 2017. This year’s increase in applications to the programme reinforces the increasing desire entrepreneurs also have to make a difference to their communities. To find out more, please visit www.yourideastartshere.co.uk.