This year’s Social Business Wales Awards saw the main categories go to a property maintenance services provider, a hi-tech manufacturer and a music co-op.
The awards, which aim to highlight the economic and social impact of co-operatives, social enterprises and employee-owned businesses, are part of the Social Business Wales project, which is delivered by the Wales Co-operative Centre. They were handed out at a ceremony at Llangollen Pavilion in Denbighshire.
Over 150 guests from the social business sector attended the awards ceremony, and were welcomed by actor and activist Michael Sheen, patron of Social Enterprise UK via a video message.
Denbighshire Music Co-operative won the award for the One to Watch category, which honours social enterprises that have been trading for less than two years and show significant promise for the future. The co-op also provided the evening’s entertainment, with a 32-piece brass fanfare from its award-winning ensemble.
The Food Shed CIC, a meal delivery service that also provides qualifications to offenders, received a Highly Commended award in the same category.
Social Enterprise of the Year went to Creating Enterprise CIC, the winner of last year’s One to Watch category.
Creating Enterprise offers property maintenance services to social and private landlords, local authorities and property management companies. It also runs an employment academy, which provides jobs and training to social housing tenants who are struggling to get into work. The business also received accolades in the Education, Employment and Training Social Enterprise category.
Judges said: “Creating Enterprise has shown impressive early growth and profitability. It also has ambitious plans to expand further into maintenance and construction, as well as completely different sectors like hospitality and care. It has a strong mission and values summarised by its aim to be the social contractor of choice.’’
Aber Instruments, a high tech manufacturing company based in Aberystwyth, won Employee Owned Business of the Year, the third headline category.
Tech for Good: Book of You CIC, a business from Ruthin which supports people with dementia
Health and Social Care: Spice, a business established in Newport that awards time-credits to encourage volunteering
Environmental Social Enterprise: The Furniture Revival (G.C. Enterprises), a furniture reuse charity tackling poverty in Caerphilly
Consumer Facing Social Enterprise: Valleys Gymnastic Academy from Crumlin, the largest gymnastics club in Wales
The winners will now go forward to compete with their counterparts from Scotland, England and Northern Ireland at a UK Awards ceremony, held in central London next month.
The awards are made possible through funding from the European Regional Development Fund and Welsh government. This year, the categories have been sponsored by Arup, BIC Innovation, Reason Digital, The Co-op Group, Legal & General, Acuity Legal, Cowshed and NatWest, with additional support from Co-op News and Social Investment Cymru.