London ,

City of London Corporation wins at UK Social Enterprise Awards

The City of London Corporation has won the ‘Buy Social-Market Builder Award’ at the UK Social Enterprise Awards, held last night in central London [26 November 2014]. The national competition, now in its 16th year, recognises the work and achievements of Britain’s most inspiring and successful social enterprises. There are 70,000 social enterprises in the UK.

The Corporation received the award for its significant contribution to building the market for buying from social enterprises. It achieved this by influencing the City’s business community and transforming its own procurement practices through training staff and implementing a Social Value Panel of external stakeholders to scrutinize plans for major procurements. It has spent £800,000 with social enterprises in the last financial year, more than three times the total of just two years ago.

Speaking about the award win, Gary Dowling head of business enablement at the City of London Corporation, said:

“Buying social is quite rightly becoming a hallmark of procurement best practice as organizations continue on the journey to buy responsibly and sustainably. At the same time as competing successfully for our contracts, social enterprises help us to diversify our supply chain, and make a difference in the community. It is great to receive acknowledgment for our efforts in developing a market we strongly believe in. We host a number of events each year and have had a very positive experience using social enterprises such as Café Sunlight and Poached Creative.

“It’s encouraging to see the social enterprise market growing in recent years, and that’s why we have led the development of the Buy Social Directory, which makes it simpler for buyers in the public and private sector to identify high quality social enterprises. The directory is backed by heavyweight partners, including Cabinet Office, Social Enterprise UK, Aspire Group, and Telereal Trillium, who are paving the way to make social enterprises mainstream.”

The awards are organised by Social Enterprise UK, the national body for social enterprises, businesses that reinvest their profits for good, benefitting people and planet.

Peter Holbrook, Chief Executive of Social Enterprise UK, said:

“The awards are a celebration of Britain’s very best social enterprises - businesses that are making a positive difference here in the UK and abroad. Competition was tougher than ever this year, with a record number of entries. The winners wholly deserve to be recognised for their achievement, and for their tireless work using business for the good of people and planet.”

Host, comedian and television presenter, Sue Perkins entertained guests and presented the winners with bespoke trophies made by social enterprises Impact Arts and Cre8. Social Enterprise UK worked with a number of social enterprises in its supply chain to organise the event, including caterers The Brigade Bar & Bistro.

The Independent on Sunday is headline sponsor of the Awards. Category Sponsors are RBS, British Council, PwC, Exterion, The Co-operative Bank, BWB, Johnson and Johnson, Wates Group, SITA, Real Ideas Organisations.

Social enterprise facts and figures (from The People’s Business report, published by Social Enterprise UK, July 2013)

  • There are 70,000 social enterprises in the UK, contributing 24 billion to the UK economy and employing 1 million people.
  • Social enterprises are much more likely to be led by women than mainstream businesses - 38% of social enterprises have a female leader, compared with 19% of small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and 7% of FTSE 100 companies.
  • Social enterprises are very heavily concentrated in the UK’s most deprived communities - 38% of all social enterprises work in the most deprived 20% of communities in the UK, compared to 12% of traditional SMEs.