A Cornish business woman has been shortlisted for the Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2017 Award.

Nikki Markham, the founder of Callington-based Battling On, a social enterprise which supports veterans to reintegrate into civilian life, is one of five finalists who have been selected from the Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Scale Up Programme.

More than 200 social entrepreneurs applied for the programme, which is being run in partnership with the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE), with only 40 gaining a place. Following a competitive application process and a Dragons’ Den-style panel, the judges then picked five finalists based on the impact they create, the growth they have achieved and the potential of their plans.

The finalists have each received a comprehensive learning programme with SSE, a grant of £15k, and a Lloyds Banking Group business mentor to help develop their enterprise and increase its social impact.

Additionally, the Social Entrepreneur of the Year will received a £10k cash prize for their enterprise, with £6k going to the runner-up and £4k to third place.

Markham said: “Winning the Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2017 would have a huge impact on Battling On. Being based in the rural south west we have very poor transport networks. We would use the money to buy a community bus to support our volunteering initiatives, and it would enable us to reach the elderly and vulnerable within our community who are suffering from social isolation.”

Voting is open to the public by clicking here and closes on October 31. The winner of the Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award will be announced at a ceremony in London on November 16.

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