SE100 Award winners: to infinity and beyond
A year is a long time, especially for a business. With the deadline for entries for the 2015 NatWest SE100 Awards just two weeks away, we asked the 2014 winners what difference winning an award made – both financially and beyond…
For all the 2014 SE100 Awards winners, the accolade proved a boon to their businesses in a multitude of different ways. The money came in handy too. Should you need some motivation to enter the awards this year, read on to see the advantages it could bring to your social venture.
Goodwill Solutions CIC, based in Northampton, were the winners of the 2014 Growth Champion Award. They provide warehousing and logistics solutions and run a training programme that supports ex-offenders, the homeless and disadvantaged youths.
“Winning the SE100 Growth Champion raised the profile of Goodwill Solutions CIC and helped us better communicate who we are and what we do” says managing director Mike Britton. “The £10,000 of prize money helped us to further develop our Back to Work initiative. Last year, 102 people went through our training programme and 70% of those that completed the course found placement in paid positions two weeks after the end of our programme.”
With the mind of a true Growth Champion, Britton has his eyes set on improving: “The University of Northampton has estimated that the social value created by Goodwill Solutions equates to £1.7 million for 2014 and we are very proud of that. Yet my attention goes to the 30 per cent of people who haven’t found work placements yet, who we can do even more for in the future.”
Rashpal Rai is the chief executive of Wellbeing Works CIC, who won our Impact Champion Award for taking considerable measures to demonstrate and communicate the social or environmental impact of their business. “Coming down to London for the Awards Ceremony was an amazing experience; receiving recognition for your efforts is an empowering feeling”, she says.
After 12 months of research and development, Wellbeing Works CIC are now redesigning their business model. Rashpal tell us that part of the £10,000 of prize money was spent on training their staff to bring in more revenue: “An online marketing course enhanced our understanding of potential, unexplored markets and has allowed us to move forward and investigate the possibility of making an entry into something new.”
Realise Futures CIC is a multi faceted business. As well as supporting learning for adults and helping disabled and disadvantaged people to find work, they also run seven social businesses, one of which is based on horticulture. They were the SE100's Trailblazing Newcomers last year.
“Part of our £5,000 prize money has contributed to a small start-up loan for a charity in Tanzania called Supporting Tanzanian Orphans and Widows. The remainder has been put towards the transformation of a project at the Walled Garden of Nowton Park, in Bury St Edmunds” says chief executive Sarah Sharlott. “Being an SE100 Award winner has very much increased our profile. We can cite a 100% success in getting our press releases into the paper and we’ve made contact with a number of organisations who want to help us secure financial investment.”
Having been around for 27 years, FRC Group were deserved winners of the 2014 Resilience Award. “We were pleased to see the SE100 introducing the Resilience Award last year“ said Verity Timmins, business development manager. “There are lots of awards out there recognising sexy, new things. Instead, winning the Resilience Award was recognition of our ability to weather the storm, to adapt and most importantly to be successful both in social impact terms and commercially.”
Building on the strong foundations of commercial success that helped to secure the Resilience Award, FRC Group used the prize money to support its new campaigning arm endfurniturepoverty.org. "We have always promoted our work as a solution to material poverty. This campaign is about raising the profile of furniture poverty and promoting practical solutions that work across all types of housing."
Every moment matters at John Taylor Hospice CIC (JTH) and none of those moments is ever quiet. After winning the SE100 Storyteller Award – and two other prizes that same week, JTH has raised its profile in the media, making it into regional and national newspapers. “The Storyteller Award was a very special achievement” said Diane Parkes, head of brand and media. “The care and health assistance we provide is brilliant and frequently receives public appraisal. The Storyteller Award marked a difference – it rewarded the hard work of our communications department, showing what we do also has a place in the broader success picture of JTH”.
The launch of a new website certainly sits among the exciting highlights of the past 12 months. ”It is helping us share our story and encourage people to be part of it”. The next chapter in the story will be JTH’s fundraising skydive, happening on 15th August.
Goodwill Solutions CIC, Wellbeing Works, Realise Futures CIC, FRC Group and John Taylor Hospice were among the many organisations that were part of the SE100 in 2014. If you’d like to be named a social enterprise champion by the SE100 then just sign up at https://se100.net/ and complete your profile before MIDDAY 24 AUGUST.
As well as the opportunity of winning a share of £32,500 your participation to the SE100 helps build a clearer picture of UK social enterprise, which can be used by investors, commissioners and others to improve access to resources and finance in the social economy.