Applications are open for the Social Business Wales Awards 2018, launched to recognise excellence in the sector.
This year, the awards feature three headline categories – Wales Social Enterprise of the Year; Wales One to Watch and Wales Employee Owned Business of the Year. Social enterprises can also enter five other categories – Health and Social Care; Consumer Facing, Environmental; Education, Training and Employment; and Tech for Good.
The awards have been running since 2010 and are part of the Social Business Wales project, which is funded by Welsh Government and the European Regional Development Fund. The project provides business support to social businesses across Wales which have plans for growth, and is delivered by the Wales Co-operative Centre as part of the Business Wales service.
Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in September at Cardiff City Hall.
Michael Sheen, patron of Social Enterprise UK, president of Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA) and ambassador for the social enterprise and co-operative movement in Wales, said: “The awards are a fantastic opportunity to not only celebrate the work of social businesses in Wales, but also to find new organisations doing great things.
“As a nation it is an opportunity for all of us to get behind them and the incredible work they do and to push for greater equality in our society. Social businesses put people before profit – celebrating their success helps to inspire others to set up their own social business and reminds us all that we should buy social whenever we can. Social business should be the norm in Wales and while we aren’t there yet it is improving and I hope we’ll see some new challengers looking to take home the awards this year.”
Creative Enterprise was crowned Welsh Social Enterprise of the Year last year and was highly commended at the UK finals in the Education, Training and
Employment category. Based in Abergele, North Wales, Creating Enterprise provides property maintenance services to social and private landlords, local authorities and property management companies. Through its employment academy, it provides jobs and training to social housing tenants who are struggling to get into work.
Sharon Jones, business and partnership director at Creating Enterprise, said her organisation has enjoyed great success since winning the award last year.
“The accreditation from the Social Business Wales Awards gave us the credibility to win new contracts and develop,” she said. “We have opened our own purpose-built premises in Mochdre, with an Employment Academy, offices and improved facilities. I would advise other social businesses to apply for the awards. It could make a huge difference to your organisation. We have used the accreditation to promote our services and facilities and the awards have raised the profile of our social enterprise at a local and national level.”
This year, the categories have been sponsored by NatWest, Legal & General, Arup, BIC Innovation, Acuity Legal, ISG Plc, Cowshed and Reason Digital, with additional support from The Co-op and Social Investment Cymru, part of the WCVA.
Social businesses, which include social enterprises, mutuals, co-operatives and employee owned businesses, can receive an application pack for this year’s awards here.