Changing lives through social enterprise

Changing lives through social enterprise

RBS SE100 awards recognise the UK’s top social businesses

Ian Cowie, Chairman SME banking at RBS , with the winners of the RBS SE100 Awards 2014


Social enterprises are now contributing more than £24 billion to the UK economy. Arguably more important however, is the life-changing contribution that many social enterprises make to communities and groups on a daily basis.

RBS was delighted to pay tribute to some of these social enterprises who have been tackling some of the UK’s most pressing social problems, at the RBS SE100 Awards held on Monday 24th November 2014.

The winners included social enterprises who are working to get war veterans suffering from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) back into employment, as well as others who rehabilitate victims of abuse. Other winners were businesses working to raise awareness of prostate cancer amongst men’s groups, and others providing jobs and employment support in disadvantaged areas.

The RBS SE100 Awards is just one way that RBS is supporting social enterprise in the UK. Through the flagship RBS Inspiring Enterprise programme, RBS has also supported 2,638 social enterprises and invested £2,120,495 in the sector since January 2013.

This support is aimed directly at social entrepreneurs who may struggle to obtain finance and support from mainstream lenders. It recognises that social enterprises may have a different business plan to a traditional business model, and it looks at the social impact as part of the business return.

The winners from the RBS SE100 Awards 2014 were:

  • Growth champion £10k prize: Goodwill Solutions - East Midlands
    Goodwill Solutions offers bespoke logistics and warehousing solutions, then uses the infrastructure and surpluses generated to run 'back-to-work' courses for ex-military with PTSD, ex-offenders, and other disadvantaged individuals.
  • Impact champion £10k prize: Wellbeing Works – East Midlands
    Wellbeing Works delivers a specialist behavioural change programmes, working particularly with people who are not in education, employment or training, people in poverty, people with long-term mental health issues and people who have been victims of crime and abuse.
  • Trailblazing newcomer £5k prize: Realise Futures CIC – East
    Provides careers advice and community learning for adults, therapeutic services for people with learning disabilities, and supports disabled and disadvantaged people to gain employment across the region.
  • Resilience award £5K prize: FRC Group – North West
    FRC Group runs three social businesses which produce financial profits and create a social dividend by giving people in poverty and unemployment the opportunity to change their lives.
  • Storyteller award £2.5k prize: John Taylor Hospice – West Midlands
    John Taylor Hospice's purpose is to ease the personal and financial cost of illness and death. They were nominated for their ‘Benjamin’s Brothers’ campaign, to raise awareness of prostate cancer in Afro-Caribbean men.

Ian Cowie, Chairman SME banking at RBS who presented the Growth Champion Award commented: “RBS is committed to unlocking and nurturing entrepreneurial talent – and giving social enterprises access to finance, markets and expertise. Congratulations to all 5 of the 2014 winners, it is a privilege to be recognising such fantastic and deserving organisations.”

Rob Wilson, Minister for Civil Society who presented the Trailblazing Newcomer award said of the RBS SE100: “Social enterprises play an important role in supporting the economy and strengthening local communities right around the UK. Key to their continued growth will be their ability to demonstrate clearly the vital impact they are making and so I would encourage all social enterprises and charities to sign up to the SE100, which will help them to do this.”

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