Social Enterprise Awards 2012 open for entries


The competition that celebrates the work and achievements of people and organisations in the UK’s growing social enterprise movement is now open. New categories have been introduced to recognise the development and diversity of the sector, with a total of 14 categories open to applicants - more than ever before.


The organisers are looking for the business men and women who are turning capitalism on its head, running the businesses that most benefit society, communities and workers.

The UK is home to 68,000 social enterprises, ‘good’ businesses that include co-operatives, Community Interest Companies and trading charities.  The latest figures* show that Britain’s social enterprise sector is booming: 1 in 7 of all social enterprises is a start-up, more than three times the proportion of start-ups in the mainstream SME business sector.  And over half (58%) of social enterprises grew their business last year, compared to 28% of SMEs.

The sector’s flagship awards, now in their 14th year, are organised by Social Enterprise UK, who are working with partners in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to reach out to Britain’s 68,000-strong social enterprise movement.

The winners will be decided by a panel of expert judges including some of the UK’s leading social entrepreneurs and announced at an evening ceremony to be held in London during Global Entrepreneurship Week in November. 

Entries are open until 26 August.  More information and to enter. 


  • Social enterprise leader
  • Start up social enterprise
  • UK social enterprise
  • Social enterprise supporter
  • Youth led social enterprise
  • Evidence of impact
  • Social entrepreneur
  • Social enterprise town
  • Social enterprise champion
  • Finance / investment deal
  • Employee / volunteer
  • Social enterprise transition award (public sector spin outs or enterprising charities)
  • Innovation (best new product or service)
  • International social enterprise


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

“The social enterprise movement is bursting at the seams with inspiring, driven and compassionate people who are making a difference, who want fairness and equality, who are using their entrepreneurial spirit and business acumen as a force for good. The awards are an opportunity to celebrate the very best of what is being achieved by people, teams and organisations working in social enterprise.”

Fraser Kelly, Chief Executive of Social Enterprise Scotland, said:

"Having set aside the awards last year, in favour of the Social Enterprise Exchange, we are delighted to have them back for 2012. It’s a great way for peers to recognise the brilliant work that's going on in social enterprise - full of energy, imagination, creativity and determination. We are delighted to have the technical support of Scottish Enterprise this year. We hope members will grab this as an opportunity to showcase their outstanding contribution and go for it."

Derek Walker, Chief Executive of the Wales Co-operative Centre, said:

“The rising number of new social enterprises, and growth of existing ones,  makes this a most exciting time in the Welsh social enterprise sector. We’re proud to present our 2012 awards to showcase the strength of the sector and the value it has to the economy and our communities. With nominations received last year from every corner of Wales, we look forward to seeing the mix of entries we receive."

John Bennett, Chief Executive of the Welsh Social Enterprise Coalition, said:

"We’re delighted to be running the Social Enterprise Awards Wales. They offer social enterprises the opportunity to be recognised and applauded for doing amazing work. The standard of entries grows every year and I expect it to be even higher this year.”

Paul Roberts, Chief Executive of Ashton Community Trust in Northern Ireland, said:

“Northern Ireland has an extremely strong and vibrant Social Economy sector as is reflected in the success of Bryson and Newington Credit Union in last year's award. The Social Enterprise Awards are the highlight in the sector's calendar and already the interest from enterprises and sponsors is extremely high, so we look forward once again to hearing of the creativity and endeavour that is making a real difference in our communities.”

Last year’s awards were hosted by actor and comedian Alexander Armstrong at The O2.  The 2011 UK winners:

  • Newington Credit Union Limited - Social Enterprise of the Year
  • Vi-Ability Educational Programme - Social Enterprise Start Up of the Year
  • Stonelaw High Fair Traders - Young Person’s Social Enterprise of the Year
  • GLL (Greenwich Leisure Ltd) - Social Enterprise Mark Holder of the Year
  • West Lindsey District Council - Social Enterprise Partner of the Year
  • John McMullan, Bryson Charitable Group - Social Enterprise Leader of the Year
  • Alasdair Nicholson, Third Sector Hebrides - Social Enterprise Unsung Hero of the Year