Disabled employment entrepreneur shortlisted for national Social Entrepreneur of the Year award

lloyds bank of scotlandKingswinford based entrepreneur, Jane Hatton, has today been shortlisted for the Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2014 Award.

Jane is amongst five finalists who are in with the chance of winning the UK-wide £10,000 Award. All five are about to graduate from the 2013/14 cohort of the Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneurs Programme.

Launched in April 2012, the Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneurs Programme delivered in partnership with the School for Social Entrepreneurs, provides both financial support (grants from between £4,000 – £15,000) and comprehensive learning support including a business mentoring scheme. The programme is designed to support social entrepreneurs in communities and, through them, help stimulate economic growth and regeneration across the UK.

Evenbreak was established by Jane Hatton in 2011, providing a specialist online job board run by disabled people for disabled people. Jane’s inspiration came from three sources: prior to becoming disabled herself, she worked as a diversity trainer, promoting the benefits of a diverse workforce to employers; running a training business, she also employed a number of disabled people herself and experienced first-hand the business benefits they brought with them; and then, unexpectedly, she became disabled herself with a degenerative spinal condition. Despite numerous spinal surgeries, Jane lives with constant severe pain, barely able to sit and with limited mobility. Jane runs the business lying flat with a laptop suspended above her.

Jane understands the issue from the perspectives of both employers and disabled candidates and now works with employers across the country, helping them to attract more disabled candidates, and helping disabled jobseekers find work with employers who value their skills

Jane said: “Being part of the School for Social Entrepreneurs ‘Scale Up’ programme has helped me focus on developing Evenbreak. I feel fortunate to have learned from the fantastic team at SSE and working with other social entrepreneurs and my Lloyds Bank mentor has been both rewarding and inspiring. The witness sessions gave me an insight into how successful my enterprise could become with the right leadership and guidance and Evenbreak would most certainly not have come so far without being part of ‘Scale Up’ this last year.

“Winning the award would be a fantastic achievement for us and would allow us to raise awareness about what we do and encourage even more employers to access disabled talent through Evenbreak. We will also be able to employ additional disabled people, working from home, to help with our own marketing activity.”

Graham Lindsay, Group Director, Responsible Business & Community Affairs at Lloyds Banking Group said “The Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneurs Programme sits at the heart of our helping Britain Prosper Plan. The five finalists for the Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2014 have particularly demonstrated what we mean by this, through delivering a positive impact to society and bringing tangible benefits to communities, individuals and the environment.”

“In the second year of the programme we’re proud to not only recognise the overall Social Entrepreneur of the Year with a £10,000 award for their social enterprise, but, for the first time, we shall also be offering second and third prizes which will help these entrepreneurs continue to Scale Up. We wish Jane luck during the campaign and encourage the public to show their support by voting.”

Alastair Wilson, CEO of the School of Social Entrepreneurs, said: “I was blown away at the Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award shortlisting panel, the talent and passion of all the applicants was incredible. The five finalists particularly impressed with their social impact, recent growth and plans to scale up their social enterprises.”

“Selecting the winner of the £10,000 is a hard task and I’m secretly pleased that staff can’t vote, because the decision is too tough to call! Good luck to all the finalists, I look forward to seeing who the public choose as their winner and the impact that £10,000 will make to one of these brilliant social enterprises”

This autumn, the second cohort – of 274 social entrepreneurs from across England and Scotland – will graduate from the Bank’s Social Entrepreneurs programme, and in November 2014 the programme will welcome a further 297 entrepreneurs enrolling for the 2014/ 15 cohort.

To vote for Jane Hatton, visit: www.the-sse.org/SEYA. Voting opens today and closes on 31 October. The winner of the Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2014 will be announced on the evening of Wednesday 05 November at a ceremony in London.

To find out more about Evenbreak, please visit: www.evenbreak.co.uk.

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