MAHSC Interim Chief Operating Officer Dr Linda Magee, who is also MAHSC’s Business Development Director, presented the award for best new business idea in the Social Category at the Manchester Enterprise Centre’s (MEC) Venture Further Awards.
This annual competition celebrates the ambitions of entrepreneurial students and recent graduates of The University of Manchester, awarding £10,000 to winners in four categories: business, social, digital and research. For the first time, MAHSC was delighted to be a sponsor of the Venture Further Awards which attracted a host of very high-quality business plans from the applicants.
“I was delighted to see such a diverse array of very impressive business plans from Manchester students and alumni. MAHSC is committed to supporting innovation to improve the health of the population both here in Greater Manchester and further afield, and we are always interested in original and inventive ideas on how we can improve wellbeing,” Dr Magee said.
Walking away with the £10,000 in the Social Category – for business ideas that improve the lives of people and communities – was In Your Own Words, an enterprise led by English Language undergraduate Jenny Berry. Having authored poems for speeches, funerals and eulogies for many years, Jenny had witnessed the power of the medium to support people in healing from traumatic events through the expression of their emotions. She decided to harness poetry’s therapeutic capacity for the good of society by helping inmates to communicate their feelings creatively, rather than physically, at a Manchester-based prison.
“In a typical hour and a half session, we work with five to eight inmates. We talk through published poems and what they mean to them, then encourage them to write poems of their own,” Jenny explained.
“I’m really passionate about helping people, particularly in relation to rehabilitating people,” she added. “There’s no point letting a prisoner out who is going to reoffend, so if I can help people help themselves, I will.”
Dr Magee was impressed by Jenny’s creative application of her talent to help others, and her ambitious approach to establishing the In Your Own Words enterprise.
“Congratulations to Jenny on a wonderful idea and a tenacious spirit,” Dr Magee said. “I’m delighted to have had the opportunity to present the award in recognition of her ambition and hard work in this project, and for MAHSC to have had a hand in the further development of In Your Own Words.”
Watch the highlights of the award ceremony: