The winners of the Social Entrepreneur Awards were announced in London last night

26 June 2009

Last night the Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneur Awards were held at Christ Church, Spitalfields. The winner of the Upper Tier award went to Anne Wexelstein at Columba 1400 which provides leadership development experiences for young people in Scotland who have faced such challenges as homelessness, addiction, poverty and growing up within the care system, the Lower Tier winner was the charity A Way Out founded by Jessie Joe Jacobs which aims to help the most vulnerable people in North East England.

The final awards ceremony came yesteday after each of the six finalists made a final presentation to the judges to outline exactly how the funds would develop an innovative aspect of their organisation.

Lower Tier finalists have applied for up to £1 million free of interest and arrangement fees for 3 years, or a one off cash donation of up to £100,000. Upper Tier finalists have applied for up to £5 million free of interest and arrangements fees for 3 years, or a one off cash donation of up to £500,000.

The four other finalists included Upper Tier finalists Laura Lee from Maggie's Centres, which aim to build beautiful, inspirational buildings which offer a unique model of psychological support to cancer patients, and  Tim Campbell  founder of the Bright Ideas Trust, a social enterprise that works with young people to provide them with the opportunity and skills to develop a new business.

Lower Tier finalists included Alex Richardson's Gladiator programme which aims to bring physical activity to kids who may not other wise have access to sports and recreation and ABS Kids and founder Abbi Morrell, a voluntary charity which trys to support children, parents and adults affected by bullying.

Launched last year by Bank of Scotland Corporate and The Sunday Times, the £6m Social Entrepreneur Awards have quickly captured the imagination of the not-forprofit (NFP) sector. It is not hard to understand why. Many NFP organisations triumph daily over the challenges they face, yet their energy, business acumen and innovation tend to go unrecognised by the media and the private sector.

The Social Entrepreneur Award was open to Not for Profit organisations whose primary purpose is to further social or environmental goals, and those who operate for non-commercial purposes and social benefit. Such organisations cover a vast spectrum, ranging from Charities, Churches and Social Groups, to Public Sector organisations, Schools and Universities.

Sam Kerr, head of specialist banking at BOS Corporate, says: “We wanted to acknowledge and promote the good work that social entrepreneurs do. The bank has a long history of giving to charity, so the Social Entrepreneur Awards are an extension of that; they are also a way of identifying more closely with the responsibility to society that the bank believes it has.”

The bank created the two categories to broaden the reach of the awards. “About 160,000 entities around the country call themselves NFP organisations, but about 800 of those account for 80% of the sector’s activity,” says Sam. “We wanted to open up the competition so that smaller organisations could win something too.”

Sam was on the judging panel that chose the two winners, to be announced on Thursday night. He will be joined by the innovative social entrepreneur Liam Black, cofounder of Wavelength Companies Ltd, which brings together people from the private and social enterprise sectors, and Kavita Oberoi, founder of Oberoi Consulting, based in Derby, which provides IT services for the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries, and who revealed her philanthropic side on the Channel 4 series The Secret Millionaire.

The other judges are Richard Caseby, Sunday Times managing editor, Cahal Dowds of accountancy firm Deloitte, Ceri Richards, specialised industry finance director, Bank of Scotland Corporate, and Ty Jones, the bank’s head of corporate responsibility.

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