THE  University of York is to encourage a new generation of social entrepreneurs.

The university is one of 56 universities to take part in a pilot of a national programme to encourage the creation of social enterprises, self-sustaining initiatives to achieve social purposes rather than just make a profit.

The programme, developed by the Higher Education Funding Council for England and Wales and the national social enterprise support organisation UnLtd, includes funding, part of which the university will use to help students launch social enterprises as they graduate.

Andrew Ferguson, of the University of York’s Careers Service, who co-ordinated the institution’s proposal to join the initiative, said: “At the moment we have a commercial proof of concept fund so students wanting to start a commercial enterprise can apply for money to reduce the risk.

“Last year, about eight students received that money and now we want to provide that for social enterprises to help them in what they do.”

Part of the money will also be used to increase work experience opportunities within social enterprises and charities.

The project aims to create a culture of social enterprise in staff and students, from a teaching sense in departments including social policy, biology and the York Management School, and what students might do when they leave