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Social enterprise awards

The Social Enterprise Awards are held to recognise the leading and most successful social enterprises of 2009 for their achievements as sustainable businesses that trade for a social purpose.

This is the eleventh year of the awards which were initially founded in 1998 by the Royal Bank of Scotland as the Enterprising Solutions Awards. For the last six years the awards have been co-ordinated by the Social Enterprise Coalition.

The Office of the Third Sector, along with the Department for Children, Schools and Families, the Department for Communities and Local Government, the Wates Family Enterprise Trust, Partnerships UK and the Media Trust, funds the Social Enterprise Awards.


The Social Enterprise Awards recognises the best social enterprises in the following categories:

Applicants are judged on their impact on society, innovation, and the quality of their business.

Awards are being presented to the winning social enterprises in each of the four devolved nations in the first stage of the competition, and winners will be announced on Social Enterprise Day, 19 November. A cash prize of £1,000 will be given to each winner along with in kind business support provided by local organisations.

Grand final

The overall, best UK-wide Social Enterprises will be selected in the second stage of the competition in each of the three categories by the public through online vote following Social Enterprise Day. The UK-wide winners will be announced in London on 3 December. The winners will each receive £1,000 and in kind business support.

A Social Enterprise of the Year will be selected from the ‘Best social enterprise with a turnover under £1 million’ and ‘Best social enterprise with a turnover over £1 million’ categories. Social Enterprise of the Year will receive a £5,000 cash prize.

Schools’ prize

In addition to the best social enterprises in the above three categories, an additional competition is being held to find the best Social Enterprise in a School across England. The shortlist will be announced on Social Enterprise Day, and the winning school will be awarded a £1,000 prize on the 3 December following online public vote.

Details of the short listed social enterprises in each of the three categories can be found on the Social Enterprise Coalition [External website] website.