Nikki is one of five finalists who have been selected from the Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Scale Up Programme, in partnership with School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE), and jointly funded by Big Lottery Fund, who are in with a chance of winning £10,000.
Nikki Markham is the founder of Battling On, a social enterprise which supports veterans to reintegrate into civilian life. The veterans are trained and employed as mentors and instructors to support vulnerable young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and adults with disabilities. The veterans help these individuals develop employment and personal skills through an innovative multi-award winning approach which combines nationally recognised vocational training with numeracy and literacy, together with work experience gained through volunteering on local community based projects.
On her award nomination, Nikki said, “Winning the Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2017 would have a huge impact on Battling On. Being based in the rural South West we have very poor transport networks. We would use the money to buy a community bus to support our volunteering initiatives, and it would enable us to reach the elderly and vulnerable within our community who are suffering from social isolation.
Being on the Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Programme, in partnership with School for Social Entrepreneurs, has helped me to increase the social impact of Battling On with the support of a comprehensive learning programme, business mentor and grant”.
More than 200 social entrepreneurs applied for the programme, with only 40 gaining a place. Following a competitive application process and a Dragons’ Den-style panel, the judges then picked five finalists to run for Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2017 – based on the impact they create, the growth they have achieved and the potential of their plans. The finalists have each received a comprehensive learning programme with SSE, a grant of £15,000, and a Lloyds Banking Group business mentor to help develop their enterprise and increase its social impact.
In addition to the grand prize of £10,000, there is also a second prize of £6,000 and third prize of £4,000.
Paula Rogers, head of Social Enterprise at Lloyds Banking Group said: “The calibre of this year’s finalists for the Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2017 is incredibly high and each entrepreneur is addressing very different needs in their local community. The shortlist demonstrates the quality and diversity of entrepreneurs on the Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Programme. By supporting social entrepreneurs to solve issues within their local community, we are impacting the wider economy and stimulating regeneration across the UK, delivering on our commitment to help Britain prosper”.
Alastair Wilson, CEO of School for Social Entrepreneurs said: “Each of this year’s finalists really does deserve to win the Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2017. It has been fantastic to see their development over the past year through the support of the Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Programme, in partnership with SSE and jointly funded by Big Lottery Fund. They are creating tangible social change within their communities through their continued hard work and I wish them the very best of luck.”
The Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Programme, in partnership with School for Social Entrepreneurs, sits at the heart of Lloyds Banking Group’s commitment to help Britain prosper and will support 2,350 entrepreneurs to start and scale social businesses by 2020.
Voting is open to the public at www.the-sse.org/SEYA and closes on 31 October 2017 at 5pm.
The winner of the Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award will be announced at a ceremony in London on the evening of 16th November 2017.