The Editor’s Post: Women social entrepreneurs: you’ve got this!

We're gearing up for this year's WISE100 awards in the Pioneers Post newsroom.

We’re approaching one of my favourite Pioneers Post events – the WISE100 Women in Social Enterprise Awards, which we run in partnership with NatWest Social & Community Capital. Today we’re delighted to reveal the names of this year’s finalists for our five prizes, selected by our esteemed panel of judges, and next week we will publish our WISE100 list of the top 100 women in social enterprise, impact investment and mission-driven business.

The awards ceremony takes place on 7 March in London – do book your place now, if you haven’t already. My colleagues, Estelle Uba, Anna Patton, and I will be hosting on the night, and we’re very much looking forward to meeting the amazing women who are part of the WISE100 past and present, and celebrating their successes.

One of the women I met last year was Jo Gorniak, co-founder of Street Factory, a social enterprise based in the south west of England that, in its own words, “uses hip hop culture and community to rebuild the lives of people who feel there is no hope”. She’s also a mother of six children and she brought one of them, her eldest daughter, to the awards.

Jo wowed our audience by performing a poem about the expectations that burden so many women in today’s society. “Now we need to have big lips, botox, big bum, small waist,” she said. “No frown lines, no laughter lines…I want you to recognise me, when I am unfiltered.”

But perhaps her most revealing words were in the email that she sent to me after the event. “Juggling six children and running a CIC for 18 years has been a journey,” she said. “I’ve had to learn on the job to keep the business side of things going.”

But, she added: “Women can do this, and this is our power.”


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Top photo: Jo Gorniak performing at the WISE100 awards ceremony in March 2023. Photo by film and photography social enterprise Saz Media.