Tony Ford Foundation offers cash prize in social enterprise competition

Social entrepreneurs with transformative enterprises across the North West are being urged to enter a new funding competition.

Designed to drive positive social change, Ignite is being launched by the Bolton based Ford Family Foundation and is supported by leading UK universities. The overall winner will receive a £20,000 impact accelerator grant to scale up their social enterprise, with a further £30,000 being shared between the other four finalists.

The Foundation was set up by Tony Ford, formerly of Ford Campbell, and more recently a director of K3.

Tony Ford

He said: “We want to hear from ambitious social entrepreneurs on a mission to make a lasting difference with their emerging business. These rising stars may still be at university or will have graduated in the last three years and will be keen to showcase how their social enterprise has the potential to solve existing problems and improve lives,” he said.

“We’re very much looking forward to working together to remove the financial barriers to growth and amplify the impact of these innovative and exciting social enterprises.”

Budding entrepreneurs have to provide a written application or six slide pitch deck, a five minute video pitch and financial projections for the next 12 months. 

The shortlist of five will be announced in August ahead of a final pitching and celebration event in October, overseen by industry expert judges.

Durham University’s Senior Enterprise Manager, Marek Tokarski, added: “Ignite represents a groundbreaking collaboration between Durham University and the Ford Family Foundation, equipping students with the tools, resources, and mentorship needed to transform their innovative ideas into impactful social enterprises. We’re proud to be the first university to get behind this transformative pitching competition, with the process alone providing a rewarding experience for those taking part.”

Ignite is hosting application webinars to support entrants with invaluable insights into the application and judging process. Each of the five shortlisted finalists will receive pitching support, personalised coaching sessions and brand storytelling advice from Cambio Consultancy’s Peter Ptashko. Mathys & Squire is providing the event space and will guide the enterprising companies in approaching Intellectual Property to secure protection for valuable brands, technical innovations and design rights.

The five finalists will deliver a short pitch to a live studio audience and panel of industry-leading experts, with a three minute Q&A session to follow. There will be an inspirational keynote speech and ample networking opportunities, accompanied by champagne and canapés.