The Big Lemon, a social enterprise based in Brighton has won the Environmental Social Enterprise of the Year award at the UK Social Enterprise Awards, held on Monday night at the Grand Connaught Rooms in London [28 November 2016].
The national competition recognises excellence and outstanding achievements by social enterprises – businesses that reinvest their profits for good, benefitting people and planet. There are now more than 70,000 social enterprises in the UK, contributing £24 billion to the economy each year.
The Big Lemon was recognised for its use of recycled cooking oil in the buses and the progress made in pursuing zero-emissions electric buses powered by renewable energy.
Tom Druitt, Founder & Managing Director of The Big Lemon said the award was “the icing on the cake” of a very good year and paid tribute to the drivers who put in “120% every day to give an awesome service to passengers”.
The annual celebration of British social enterprises was hosted by two time Edinburgh Comedy Awards Finalist, Nish Kumar. The ceremony was attended by leading UK social enterprises, representatives from large corporates and the Minister for Civil Society, Rob Wilson MP.
Social enterprise supply chain
The Big Lemon and the other winners were presented with bespoke trophies made by the social enterprise, Designs in Mind, which employs people with mental health problems. Social enterprises also supplied all the goods and services on the night, including the catering, rigging, drinks, flower displays and goody bags.
The Awards are organised by Social Enterprise UK, the national trade body for social enterprise.
Peter Holbrook CBE, Social Enterprise UK’s Chief Executive, said:
“Year on year the UK Social Enterprise Awards get bigger and better. This year the competition was particularly fierce, so a big congratulations to insert name of your social enterprise for taking home a trophy.
In a year that’s been dominated by political uncertainty, divisions and inequalities, hearing the stories behind the winners and all the finalists has been a breath of fresh air. Social enterprises show that another way of doing business is possible, one that puts people and the planet first. Because they’re free of shareholders they’re able to reinvest their profits for good.”
Social enterprise facts and figures*
• There are 70,000 social enterprises in the UK, contributing 24 billion to the UK economy and employing one million people.
• Social enterprises are experiencing a start-up boom – 35% are three years old or less, three times the proportion of SME start-ups.
• Social enterprises are much more likely to be led by women than mainstream businesses – 40% of social enterprises have a female leader, compared with 18% of SMEs and 5% of FTSE 100 companies.
Sponsors of the Awards are the British Council, Big Society Capital, CAN, GLL, Johnson & Johnson, Landmarc, Mutual Ventures, Natwest, PwC, P3, Santander and Wates Group. The Big Issue is media partner to the Awards.
* Leading the world in social enterprise, a report published by Social Enterprise UK, 2015 – http://www.socialenterprise.org.uk/advice-services/publications/state-social-enterprise-report-2015