Meals on wheels service speeds away with social enterprise award

Hertfordshire Community Meals have been named the UK’s social enterprise of the year at the National Business Awards last night. 

The meals on wheels community outreach service has been recognised for generating positive social impact while also demonstrating excellence in all aspects of enterprise – from innovation, staff engagement and customer focus, to growth leadership and financial performance.

The lavish awards ceremony held on London's prestigious Park Lane was kicked off with a message from Prime Minister David Cameron, who sent his best wishes to all of those attending and thanked the shortlisted businesses for “creating the growth and jobs that are turning this country around”.

Other award winners included Teléfonica UK and former Sainsbury’s CEO Justin King CBE. Teléfonica UK were recognised with the Santander Corporate Citizenship Award, which celebrates businesses that achieve the greatest impact by aligning the work they do to address social challenges in the communities in which they operate with their commercial objectives.

In modern times 10 years is a very long tenure but the truly great businesses today have long histories and long futures ahead of them.

Justin King CBE received one of the highest accolades of the night – the Daily Telegraph Decade of Excellence Award. Before stepping down as Sainsbury’s CEO this year, King was instrumental in pioneering Sainsbury’s 2020 Sustainability Plan and played a leading role in making Sainsbury’s the global leader in Fairtrade retailing and in achieving its zero waste to landfill target.  

Justin King CBE said: "This is a rare honour and I'm very proud to accept it. When I joined Sainsbury's 10 years ago I had a couple of personal wishes – one was to last twice as long as the average chief executive and the other was to go at a time of my own chosing. In surviving and perhaps thriving for 10 years, I think I achieved both of those.

"Sainsbury's is a business much older than my 10 years – it is now 145 years old. In modern times 10 years is a very long tenure but the truly great businesses today have long histories and long futures ahead of them."

The 13th annual National Business Awards featured entertainment by impressionist Rory Bremner and a keynote speech from Olympic sailor Ben Ainslie, who drew comparisons between the world's of sport and business, highlighting the fine line between success and failure, and the importance of resilience. For the second year running the evening was hosted by Sky News’ Dermot Murnaghan.

A new award for 2015 has been announced which will recognise those universities who promote and teach entrepreneurship to their students. Lord Young, enterprise advisor to the Prime Minister, said: "We would like to encourage students to think about setting up a business, think about working for themselves, think about ways it could expand their opportunities.

"So, this time next year we are going to introduce, and HRH the Duke of York has agreed to be the patron, an award for university entrepreneurship."