Liz Tapner, CEO of Lancashire’s social enterprise network Selnet, has won a national award recognising her as the UK’s most influential woman in social enterprise.
Liz was awarded the Women in Social Enterprise award at the UK Social Enterprise Awards, held on Wednesday night at the Guildhall in the City of London.
The national awards organised by Social Enterprise UK (SEUK) shines a spotlight on the leading lights of the social enterprise community, recognising the outstanding achievements of businesses which trade for a social purpose.
There are approximately 100,000 social enterprises in the UK, contributing £60 billion to the economy each year and employing approximately two million people. They operate in nearly every sector from selling quality consumer goods to providing health and social care services.
As the lead body representing social enterprise in Lancashire, Selnet enables Lancashire Social Enterprise to access the support and resources to aid business development and growth.
The people who make change happen
On presenting the Women in Social Enterprise award, VCSE Crown Representative Claire Dove said “just last week I was at an event marking 100 years since women had the vote. Now the third sector is leading the way for gender equality”. Notably, the shortlist of 8 leading women from the sector included two from Lancashire; Liz Tapner of Selnet and Tracey Bush, CEO of Spiral Health CIC.
Following the award presentation, Liz said:
“I am so proud to have been recognised from such a phenomenal list of women!
I’ve been with Selnet for more than 10 years and I am so honoured to represent the social enterprise sector and will continue to shout about the amazing work that happens across Lancashire.
I’ve really come a long way. I would like to take the opportunity to thank my incredible team, Selnet board of directors and everyone who has supported me on my own journey.
We’ve got big plans for the coming year so bring on 2019! “
Liz was one of the first 15 social enterprise leaders to be awarded an Honorary Fellowship by Social Enterprise UK in 2017. This latest award sets Liz apart as the UK’s most influential woman in social enterprise.
The Awards were hosted by award-winning comedian Mark Watson and was also attended by SEUK patron, Chris Addison, who said to the audience of social enterprise representatives:
“What you do is so thrillingly amazing. Your passion and thought and ideas and energy; you will change the world. You are some of the most impressive people I have met. I know it’s a really hard job, but you are the people who make change happen.”
Commenting on this years’ ceremony, Peter Holbrook Chief Executive of SEUK said:
“In the troubling, uncertain times we’re living in, social enterprises are a beacon of hope. They are showing that another way of doing business is possible, one rooted in the values of community, equality and fairness.
This year’s winners are testament to the strength and diversity of the social enterprise movement. It can no longer be seen as a fringe part of our economy but rather as a sector creating real impact both socially and economically.
Social enterprises are showing us what the future of business can look like.”
Social enterprise supply chain
Liz Tapner and the other winners were presented with bespoke trophies made by the social enterprise, Designs in Mind, which employs people with mental health issues. Social enterprises also supplied all the goods and services on the night, including the catering, rigging, drinks, flower displays and goody bags.
The Awards were sponsored by Big Society Capital, The British Council, The Co-op, Deloitte, Employers for Childcare, GLL, Landmarc, Linklaters, NatWest, Pinnacle, Power to Change, Prospective, PwC, Santander and Unity Trust Bank. The Big Issue, itself a social enterprise was the official media partner.