Elemental Co-Founders Jennifer Neff and Leeann Monk Ozgul win Cambridge Social Innovation prize for pandemic response

As businesses have struggled through Covid-19 lockdown, some social entrepreneurs, like Jennifer Neff and Leeann Monk Ozgul, have faced an unprecedented demand for their services.

The second annual Cambridge Social Innovation Prize, announced last week, aims to help four outstanding social entrepreneurs to meet this increased need with a £10,000 grant and advice from experts at the University of Cambridge.

The prize, awarded by Trinity Hall and the Cambridge Centre for Social Innovation at Cambridge Judge Business School, aims “to enable leaders boost their own leadership capacity so they can meet new challenges head-on”.

Elemental Co-Founders/CEOs Leeann Monk-Ozgul and Jennifer Neff

Elemental Co-Founders and Co CEOs, Jennifer Neff and Leeann Monk Ozgul have been recognised as one of the worthy winners of the Cambridge award due to their digital social prescribing platform helping to address unmet needs in healthcare, housing and in communities throughout the UK and Ireland during Covid 19.

“We’ve been working closely with our network of Elemental customers including 4,100 GPs, 108 Social Workers, 854 Link Workers and 51,318 people who benefit from their 939 programmes and services they deliver first hand. They’ve been telling us that demand for their services increased dramatically during COVID, that new referral routes were established to support more people and that the strength of relationships formed between health and social care, housing, local gov and community sectors enabled them to get ahead of the crisis. To know that our digital platform has helped to enhance social support during such unprecedented times makes us feel extremely proud. It’s also testament to our talented team who adapted so well to remote working to ensure we continued to support our customers to support their communities.” Jennifer Neff, Co Founder/CEO Elemantal

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“Jennifer and I are humbled to have won the prestigious Cambridge Social Innovation Prize. To be recognised alongside three other outstanding social entrepreneurs as having helped to address the social needs of communities during the pandemic makes us extremely proud. Coming from a background of community development, we set out to mainstream social prescribing and make huge impacts to the lives of thousands of people around the UK and Ireland. The increase in demand for our digital social prescribing platform has reinforced the point that the social prescribing model of care is extremely important for community resilience, and the benefits of digital to be able to track, manage and report on the effectiveness is needed, now more than ever.” Leeann Monk Ozgul, Elemental Co-founder/CEO

Baroness Glenys Thornton, former Minister for Health and a leader in the social enterprise sector, was one of this year’s judges for the prize.

“The Covid-19 pandemic is a public health crisis, but also a crisis of social care and the economy,” she said. “Social enterprises across the UK have formed a key plank in our national response to the pandemic, responding in unique and creative ways to the health and economic crises. They need our support to meet the explosion in demand for their proven, impactful interventions.”

The prize is intended to support the winners’ growth as social CEOs and the growth of their businesses, with a £10,000 grant for professional development, 10 days of business advice from experts at Cambridge Judge Business School, and introductions to new partners, investors and other opportunities.

“The University of Cambridge has contributed significantly to the medical response – we are now proud to be able to support the economic recovery by supporting businesses whose work is 100% focused on creating positive social impact,” said Dr Belinda Bell, who leads the team delivering the prize.

“Our support will help social CEOs develop personally and professionally so they can lead in rebuilding the economy on more equitable and sustainable terms.”

University of Cambridge (Trinity Hall) alumnus Graham Ross Russell has generously supported this prize as part of the college’s ongoing work to nurture entrepreneurial ambition among its students and academic fellows.

“The support we’ll receive from Trinity Hall and The Cambridge Centre will allow us to focus on how we can further bolster the impact of digital and social prescribing. We’re extremely grateful for this opportunity and excited about working with our new advisor Karen Anderson and the team at Cambridge in the very near future.” Leeann Monk Ozgul, Elemental Co-founder/CEO


Check out Jennifer Neff’s latest blog which gives a reflective round-up of what Elemental has learned from Covid 19 and how the social prescribing movement provided the foundation for a preventative and joined up community response. Read the full blog here.

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