UK Social Enterprise Awards 2017: An introduction

Find out all about how to celebrate the best and brightest in social trading as well as how you can decide who takes home the Consumer Facing Social Enterprise award

The UK Social Enterprise Awards are returning to celebrate the cream of the crop of the country’s businesses for good.

We all know that social enterprises of all sizes enrich communities all over the UK, and in many cases, across the globe, by reinvesting their profits into people, initiatives and schemes that do a lot more than lining shareholders’ wallets.

Change Please is one of the social enterprises up for an award

There are more than 70,000 social enterprises in the UK employing almost a million people while contributing £18.5 billion – and that is something worth shouting about.

And for one night only on November 23, the best and brightest of the UK’s will be honoured at a glitzy and glamorous awards ceremony in central London.

There are now more options than ever for consumers to use their spending power to support social justice and the causes that they care about

Among the diverse collection of awards, the One To Watch category highlights the social up-and-comers to keep an eye on while the Tech for Good gongs looks at the those who keep up with the cutting edge in innovative ways.

Of course, there is also the big one, the UK Social Enterprise of the Year, the overall award that looks for a clear vision, excellence in impact, and an outfit that has also demonstrated and promoted social enterprise beyond the sector.

The twist this time around is that The Big Issue is giving you the chance to decide who scoops a prestigious gong at this year’s SEUK Awards.

We need you to help us decide who will be coming out on top in the Consumer Facing Social Enterprise category, in association with the Co-op.


There are currently around 1,450 Big Issue sellers working hard on the streets each week.


Peter Holbrook, Social Enterprise UK CEO, explains: “The UK Social Enterprise Awards celebrates the nation’s growing social enterprise movement – businesses trading to make a difference to communities in the UK and around the world, as well as those who lead them.  The shortlisted organisations are an insight into the inspirational work being done by the sector.

“It’s great to be working with The Big Issue, one of our most well-known social enterprises, to run a readers’ vote on the consumer-facing category. The finalists demonstrate the increasing range of social enterprises set up to sell quality goods and services to the public. There are now more options than ever for consumers to use their spending power to support social justice and the causes that they care about.

“But, it’s up to you as to which one of these outstanding social enterprises will go home with the honour and the prize!”

Cast your vote by making the tough choice between Alnwick Garden’s lush visitor attraction or Belu’s carbon-neutral bottled water that sees 100 percent of their profits donated to WaterAid.

From Babies with Love have an exclusive range of products available in The Big Issue Shop to mark the awards

You can decide who is the most full of beans out of farmer-friendly coffee company Cafédirect and the Big Issue-backed homeless baristas of Change Please.

Also up for silverware is Divine Chocolate whose Fairtrade sweet treats support cocoa farmers in Ghana. From Babies with Love offer a sweet deal too – for every penny of profit from their high-quality baby garments, they support abandoned children all over the world.

Stand4 Socks put their best foot forward with the offer of one pair of socks for a homeless person in the UK for every one they sell.

The Soap Co are cleaning up the act of the toiletries industry by creating meaningful employment for people with disabilities while Toast Ale’s pint-sized effort sees them transform fresh surplus bread into delicious craft beer.

Stand4 Socks have exclusive products available in The Big Issue Shop

Finally, Valleys Gymnastics raise the bar for all ages in their local community.

The Big Issue is delighted to once again partner with the UK Social Enterprise Awards. This year, many of the organisations shortlisted for the Consumer Facing Award feature products on The Big Issue Shop. Click here to view our UK Social Enterprise Awards Collection.

Change Please is one of the social enterprises up for an award

We wouldn’t want you to agonise over the decision without a bit of a helping hand, so look out for more about each nominee both online and in the magazine over the next few weeks ahead of the closing date of midnight on Sunday, November 5.

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The Big Issue exists to dismantle poverty by creating opportunity through self-help, social trading and business solutions.

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