Michael Young, Founder of SSE, The Lord Young of Dartington.

Everybody has the capacity to be remarkable”

– Michael Young. Founder, School For Social Entrepreneurs

Michael Young is recognised as one of the world’s most creative and influential social innovators. In 1945 Young wrote the Labour Party manifesto which ushered Clement Attlee’s government into power. Young subsequently played a key role in shaping the post-war welfare state. In 1957 he authored ‘The Rise of Meritocracy’. Young’s book coined the phrase ‘meritocracy’ and critiqued previous governments’ restrictive view of merit. ‘The Rise of Meritocracy’ sold 500,000 copies in 12 languages, helped to abolish the 11-plus examination, and pushed the Left to champion equal opportunities.

In 1954 Young set up the Institute of Community Studies (now ‘The Young Foundation’). The ICS fostered more than 60 organisations and initiatives focused on meeting social needs. NHS Direct, the Open University, and Which? Consumers’ Association were all born from the ICS.

Young founded The School for Social Entrepreneurs to create opportunities for people like him who wanted to make positive social changes. Young passionately believed that entrepreneurship should be learned through practical experience. His ideas about learning have been placed at the heart of the SSE.

Lord Young of Dartington, died aged 86 in 2002 but his spirit of social entrepreneurship lives on at the SSE.


School for Social Entrepreneurs was founded in 1997 by Michael Young. The SSE was the last in the line of organisations created by the Institute of Community Studies (now the Young Foundation), a pioneering urban think tank.

The SSE was run from the Bethnal Green neighbourhood of East London and welcomed its first cohort of students in 1998.

In 1999 to 2000, after the success of the SSE’s innovative national programme, we determined our approach could work in other locations. We were awarded a £1million Millennium Awards Scheme that allowed 10 local programmes to be established across the UK.

In 2000, the SSE also helped lead the consortium which created UnLtd, the Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs, in order to provide start-up grants across the UK.

Over the past two decades the SSE has helped thousands of social entrepreneurs find success. In the years to come, we hope to support and inspire more people across the world.

The SSE is Celebrating its 20 Years on July 5th’ 2017.

We Thank: SSE Midlandsfor the article and SocialEntrepreneurs.World honored by carrying the article on the social innovator.

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