5 Oct, 17
The awards ceremony celebrated the achievements of social enterprises, co-operatives and employee owned businesses in Wales and was a chance to shine a spotlight on the positive economic and social impact that these businesses have had on communities around the country.
Hosted by Morgan Jones and featuring a welcome video message from actor and social enterprise enthusiast Michael Sheen, the awards ceremony was attended by an audience of 150 VIP guests from the social business sector. Denbighshire Music Co-operative, a social enterprise local to the Llangollen Pavilion, also provided entertainment for the evening, welcoming attendees as they arrived, with a 32 piece brass fanfare and later regaling guests with a performance by their award-winning brass ensemble.
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.
– Judges of the awards
Creating Enterprise CIC received the night’s highest honour and was presented with the trophy for Social Enterprise of the Year 2017 by award sponsor NatWest. 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.
Having won the 2016 Social Business Wales One to Watch award, Creating Enterprise CIC has continued to grow in success, also winning this year’s prize for best Education, Employment and Training Social Enterprise, sponsored by Legal & General.
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.’’
The 2017 One to Watch category, sponsored by BIC Innovation, rewards new social enterprises that have been trading for less than two years and show significant promise for the future. A hotly contested category this year, it was won by Denbighshire Music Co-operative, with The Food Shed CIC, a meal delivery service which also provides qualifications to offenders, receiving a Highly Commended award.
The Employee Owned Business of the Year, sponsored by Arup; a new category to the 2017 awards, was won by Aber Instruments, a high tech manufacturing company based in Aberystwyth.
Another new award this year was the Tech for Good category. Sponsored by Reason Digital, the trophy was presented to Book of You CIC, a business from Ruthin which supports people with dementia, and their families and carers, by helping them create life story reminiscence projects.
The trophy for the Health and Social Care category, sponsored by Acuity Legal, was awarded to Spice; an innovation business established in Newport that awards time-credits to encourage volunteering.
The winner of the Environmental Social Enterprise award, sponsored by The Co-op, was The Furniture Revival (G.C. Enterprises), a furniture reuse charity tackling poverty in Caerphilly.
The final category, sponsored by Cowshed, was the Consumer Facing Social Enterprise award which was bestowed to Valleys Gymnastic Academy from Crumlin which is currently the largest gymnastics club in Wales.
The social enterprise winners will now go forward to compete with their counterparts from Scotland, England and Northern Ireland at a UK Awards ceremony, being held in central London in November. A business from Wales has won the UK Social Enterprise of the Year for the last two years and hopes are high for a hat-trick.
Further supporting local social enterprises, catering at this year’s events is provided by CAIS Social Enterprises. A winner at last year’s awards, CAIS currently operates three social enterprises in the county of Conwy, which provide work experience and training opportunities to clients from disadvantaged backgrounds. Profits from the social enterprises go toward supporting who have problems with addiction, adverse mental health, unemployment, offending, return from military service, and other life challenges, through a range of services.
Organised by the Social Business Wales project, which is delivered by the Wales Co-operative Centre, the awards are made possible through funding from the European Regional Development Fund and Welsh Government. This year, the award 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.