THE Co-operative Action loan fund has been topped up to £ 1 million, extending its support for emerging co-operative, mutual and social enterprises.
The announcement ? from Simon Williams, Director of Corporate Affairs for Co-operative Financial Services and a Co-operative Action director ? was made in London as the Co-op-sponsored Upstart Awards were presented by the Minister for Small Business and Social Enterprise, Nigel Griffiths.
The £ 250,000 top-up, to create the target £ 1 million fund, comes as Co-operative Action goes past the £ 2,500,000 mark with 67 grants and loans over the last three years.
Sponsorship of the Upstart Awards by Co-operative Action and the Co-operative Bank is an extension of this support ? and, said Mr Griffiths: "High-profile awards ceremonies like this show the world that UK social enterprises come in all shapes and sizes ? all fighting to protect markets, provide community services, give young people the chances we want for them and working to relieve poverty among farmers in developing countries.
"The explosion of social enterprise is pioneering new community businesses and making an enormous contribution to reshaping the economy.
"Today there's hardly an area of economic activity where social enterprise is not present."
Two enterprising co-operatives came out top at this year's awards. Shepshed Carers co-op in Leicestershire won the Social Enterprise Award and the Bishopston Trading Company, a Bristol-based workers' co-op, won the Overseas Impact Award.
Shepshed Carers, whose 80 members provide high-quality domiciliary care to more than 250 people with high-dependency needs, was established 12 years ago with the help of Leicester and County Co-operative Development Agency.
The Bishopston Trading Company was the inaugural winner of the new Overseas Impact Award, which recognises good business practice and a commitment to international social issues.
It has set a benchmark through its 20-year relationship with co-operative tailors and weavers in southern India where profits are funding a large local building project in the village of KV Kuppam.
"The tremendous achievements of these co-operative enterprises show that co-operation is a natural route to business success," said Pauline Green, Chief Executive of Co-operatives UK. "Co-operatives are leading the way in the social enterprise field ? they provide a proven blueprint for successful social business.
"Co-ops are an inclusive, mutually-beneficial way of working, which, as these awards show, provide much-needed services for local, national and international communities."
Richard Adams OBE, founder of Tearcraft, Tearfund and Traidcraft won the individual award for Social Enterprise Champion. The champion organisation award went to Fairtrade wholesaler Traidcraft.
Pictured? Simon Williams with the Fairtrade Foundation's Harriet Lamb (left) and Carolyn Whitwell from Bishopston Trading Company.
In this article
- co-operative , mutual and social enterprises
- Co-operatives UK
- community services
- Company Location
- Cooperative banking
- Director of Corporate Affairs
- Nigel Griffiths
- Richard Adams
- Shepshed Carers
- Simon Williams
- Social economy
- Social Issues
- The Bishopston Trading Company
- the Co-op-sponsored Upstart Awards
- The Co-operative brand
- The Co-operative Group