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Savvy graduates win again

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Published on 27 October 2017

The Media Savvy team
The Media Savvy team

Sunderland based social enterprise Media Savvy CIC has been crowned as winners of the ‘Social Enterprise Award’ at this year’s Sunderland Echo Portfolio Awards 2017.

The event was held Thursday (26 October) at the Stadium of Light. The Awards Ceremony featured an impressive line-up of Wearside and East Durham businesses that had made it to the shortlist, alongside some local celebrities.

The evening’s proceedings featured seventeen different awards with Media Savvy being entered and shortlisted for two. They won the ‘Social Enterprise Award’ and picked up the Highly Commended Award for ‘Best Training Provider’, fending off stiff competition from multi-million pound turnover businesses.

Media Savvy’s Managing Director Dan Makaveli, 35, a University of Sunderland graduate said:

‘’Although we had been shortlisted, the awards came as a complete surprise, especially the Highly Commended for ‘Best Training Provider’, given that we were up against some much larger organisations. We are very grateful for the awards, as it’s encouraging to gain acknowledgement for the great work we know we do in local communities.’

Dan launched Media Savvy CIC in 2010 with support from the University’s Enterprise Place and the multi-award winning business has gone from strength to strength. All of the four current full time staff are Sunderland graduates. Their success is founded in their commitment to inspire hard-to-reach individuals via non-traditional teaching and learning methods and by implementing a highly successful, personalised, learning by stealth approach. The primary aims of their courses are to improve the employability prospects of the participants, many of whom who are facing multiple barriers to gaining meaningful and sustainable employment.

The Enterprise Place supports University of Sunderland students and graduates who want to explore their ambitions to run their own business via a package of support funded by an ERDF project that includes; co-working space in Hope Street Xchange, expert business advice, a start-up business course, commercial editing software and more. Laura Foster, Enterprise Place Manager said:

"I am so pleased that Media Savvy have again been recognised with these awards for all their hard work in the region. They are a shining example of social enterprise and great advocates for student and graduate enterprise, often coming back to talk to and support our upcoming entrepreneurs. I wish them every continued success!”

ERDF Project


The Internships and Enterprise project is receiving up to £2,207,656 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. ‌The Department for Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. ‌Established by the European Union, European Regional Development Fund funds help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding(link is external).


Hope Street Exchange

Launched earlier this year, Hope Street Xchange was developed by the University with £4.9m investment support from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership’s (LEP’s) Local Growth Fund and £2.23 million from the European Regional Development Fund.

Based on the City Campus it links the University to the region’s small business community by supporting fledgling start-ups and offering space for existing businesses to develop and grow. From here businesses can access students and graduates with the skills they need - through a range of options including placements, internships and knowledge transfer partnerships – as well as connecting them with the University’s world-leading research base, sector expertise and specialised hi-tech equipment.

These awards are the latest in a long line of accolades for the Sunderland-based social enterprise, now in its eighth year of training In 2012, the not-for-profit organisation was named ‘Best Start-up Business in the North East & Yorkshire’ from over 200 shortlisted in the inaugural Lloyds TSB Enterprise Awards.