Building successful social enterprises to tackle global challenges

Published on 12 December 2019

Social enterprises are on the rise and have become a way for both companies and social entrepreneurs to proactively address real world problems by taking matters in to their own hands.

In April, IDS alumnus Mamunur Rahman won the 2019 British Council Entrepreneurial Award for his innovation that transforms leftover clothing material into sanitary towels. ‘Ella Pads’ support more than 50,000 women with improved health, hygiene and employment opportunities as the pads are made by women for women.

For Mamunur, the greatest satisfaction is seeing how he has been able to make a difference to women’s lives in his country. In an article for the University of Sussex, he said: ‘Coming from a poor, rural background, where I am the only one who from my family who has been able to do a Masters in the UK, I know I have been super lucky. I think my responsibility is to give something back to society.’

Sharing knowledge to improve lives

Understanding what works and what doesn’t work in a social enterprise allows social entrepreneurs to learn and build an even stronger, more resilient enterprise. To help support this learning, Mamunur returned to IDS in October to speak about his work on health and sustainable livelihoods. He was joined by Sussex graduate Réjane Woodroffe, who won the Social Impact category of the British Council Alumni Awards for her work as the Director and co-founder of the award-winning Bulungula Incubator, an NGO addressing rural poverty. Together they delivered an inspiring Sussex Development Lecture on building social enterprises to tackle global challenges. You can watch their lecture here:

Sussex at the forefront of development studies

Sussex has a rich history of nurturing social innovators. Two of the three 2019 British Council Global Award winners were affiliated to Sussex: Mamunur graduated with an MA in Gender and Development from the Institute of Development Studies, and is a Chevening alumnus; Réjane graduated with an MSc in Development Economics from the University of Sussex.

The British Council Awards’ success has added to Sussex’s outstanding reputation for development studies, which includes Sussex being named the world’s best for development studies for the third year running by the QS World University Rankings.

We are now offering students around the world the opportunity to benefit from our development expertise remotely, with the launch of new online distance learning courses. Newly designed courses include an MSc in Sustainable Development. These courses are in addition to the eight taught master’s degrees that we offer.


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