Social enterprise stars recognised for efforts

Social Enterprise Award 2014 Winners Banner

A trio of leading social enterprises from the Black Country were recognised recently when the sector’s biggest regional competition came to a major finale.

Mindful Gifts, a company that provides appropriate gifts and activities for dementia sufferers, and REPC, a specialist in the safe disposal and recycling of unwanted IT equipment and furniture, were among the main winners at the Social Enterprise West Midlands (SEWM)-backed event.

Social Enterprise Awards Winners

They were joined by Geoff Walker, who beat off tough competition to secure the SE Aspire Award for his work in driving the development of Sandwell Community Caring Trust.

The CEO has been a long-term supporter of the sector and recently secured £4.2m of investment from Unity Trust Bank and Big Issue Invest to buy new care home facilities for his organisation.

Melanie Mills, chief executive of SEWM, said:

“Our sector is experiencing significant growth and is increasingly being viewed as an important economic driver…it is only right that we recognise the organisations, enterprises and individuals that are making it happen.

More than 150 people attended the awards evening held at the University of Birmingham, who kindly gave us the venue to host the event. They listened to stories of expansion, innovation, passion, community spirit, employee development and outstanding business performance from our 12 winners.”

She added:

“Their stories will hopefully inspire other Black Country entrepreneurs and organisations to embrace the social movement. People are sitting up and taking notice of the sector and that can only be good news.”

Social Enterprise West Midlands is the leading business network and consultancy for social enterprise in the region. The membership-led organisation offers access to expert consultancy, advice and guidance, as well as a series of event and workshops designed to educate, inform and promote a sector that is worth more than £35m locally.

It also offers event management support and was instrumental – with its parent company The Aspire Group – in the launch of www.buysocialdirectory.org.uk, the UK’s first social business directory.

The SE Awards were backed by a host of sponsors, including Adullam Homes, Amey, Anthony Collins Solicitors, Aspire Group, DiSE, Enterprise Foundation, Lister Trade Frames, PwC, Sustainability West Midlands and UnLtd.

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