We applied for the UK Social Enterprise Awards in 2018 because, as an established social enterprise, we wanted the opportunity to show and celebrate all we had recently achieved, as well as the culmination of impact that we have been delivering for almost 30 years. Winning both the UK Social Enterprise of the year award and the International Impact award, felt very timely and significant, not only for the Cafédirect team, but for our wider partners, supporters, shareholders and friends. It wasn’t just a win for us, but a win for everyone who has been working hard to improve growers’ livelihoods and stay relevant in a competitive market.

Here are my top tips for anyone who is thinking about applying for the UK Social Enterprise Awards this year.

  1. Apply for different categories

When we first read through the categories it was clear to us that we could apply for five, but we had the most compelling evidence to apply for three categories. Although obviously some of the information overlapped, we were careful to answer with relevant criteria for each of the categories that we entered.

  1. Follow the Guidelines!

We were advised at the start of this process to read the criteria closely and respond to each point, which is exactly what we did. It’s such an obvious thing to do, but easy to forget once you’re in the midst of writing it- so definitely go back and check that each point meets the criteria stated in the Guidelines.

  1. Gather evidence from multiple teams

To successfully put together a compelling application, we needed to gather information across different teams. Asking for information from colleagues can bring about surprising information which all helps when collating the supporting evidence required.

  1. Use the supporting documents to present your evidence

We submitted two additional documents (10 pages each) which included evidence in a variety of formats: from bar graphs to customer reviews on Ocado, social media data and pages from Producers Direct’s own impact report. This all helped contextualise and support our application, which had a pretty limited word count! 

  1. Go for it!

You’re already a social enterprise and making a difference. This application is just an opportunity to really highlight and celebrate what you already do.

Click here to apply for the 2019 UK Social Enterprise Awards.