Category Archives: News

Selnet Awards 2019 Oh What a Night!!

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The Awards

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Partnership Opportunity: Emotional Wellbeing Support for Building Better Opportunities Projects

Applications are invited from suitably qualified and experienced organisations to provide specialist emotional wellbeing support to project participants from each of our three Lancashire BBO projects; Age of Opportunity, Invest in Youth and Changing Futures. As you will be well aware, a significant proportion of BBO participants experience wellbeing and mental health conditions that can act as a barrier to progression of the individual into work or education.

Proposals are sought from organisations that can help to build the confidence and personal skills needed to move people towards positive outcomes.  Our delivery teams have highlighted the need for a responsive service to help manage low level mental health concerns in participants whilst they engage with one of our projects. 

You are invited to submit a tender for the provision of emotional wellbeing Support for Building Better Opportunities Projects for Lancashire. The opportunity is advertised on The Chest:


Please pass this tender opportunity to relevant contacts within your networks. All questions relating to the opportunity must be directed through The Chest.


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Buy Social for a Better World

Buy Social for a Better World

Selnet joins national campaign encouraging Lancashire businesses and public sector to use their spending power to build a better world.

Selnet, Lancashire’s Social Enterprise Network, is taking part in the Buy Social for a Better World Campaign urging commissioners and local businesses to spend their money with social enterprises and create a positive impact through their everyday spend.

Social enterprises are businesses set up to build a better world – trading for a social or environmental purpose and re-investing the majority of their profits back towards their social mission. There are over 100,000 of these businesses in the UK, contributing £60billion to the economy.

There are over 2500 social enterprises registered in Lancashire, whose goods and services direct investment into strengthening communities and changing lives; from providing childcare services, work readiness and training support, arts and culture, manufacturing, housing associations, community transport services or horticulture services.

Selnet specialise social enterprise development and growth. They have secured over £15m in contracts and project funding since 2007, to support the sector to achieve real change for disadvantaged people and deprived communities across the Lancashire area.

Selnet, this year ranked as one of the top 100 social enterprises in the NatWest SE100, is encouraging commissioners and companies across the Lancashire area to use their spending power to help address social challenges across the county.

Selnet CEO Liz Tapner, recognised as the UK’s most influential woman in social enterprise, said


“Commissioning social enterprises means investment is directed into tackling inequality and disadvantage across Lancashire communities. Our sector specialises in transforming lives through providing opportunities and developing skills, abilities, confidence and resilience.”


Selnet’s free online Trade Directory showcases the range of goods and services available from Selnet members, categorised into their specialist areas. It is intended to help new customers, commissioners and partners to engage more easily with individual organisations.


 “As a network, we are all about connections. Our Trade Directory is a great place to start for connecting buyers with social enterprises, who can provide real social value and community impact to investments in goods or services.

We are joining the nationwide campaign to encourage commissioners and procurement teams to capitalise on the social value their investment can achieve and build a better Lancashire by buying from social enterprises like those in our Trade Directory!”


The Buy Social for a Better World campaign is being supported by Hollywood star, Michael Sheen, author and activist Caitlin Moran, actor and comedian Chris Addison and writer Sali Hughes, who have released a series of films as part of an augmented reality experience tied into the broader campaign. Shoppers at The Co-op can scan the packaging of four social enterprise products available in-store and be greeted by one of the celebrities who will describe the social impact they are helping to create by buying them. It is all part of a nation-wide awareness raising drive, mobilising communities to support social enterprises and help transform how we do business.

Commenting on the campaign, Peter Holbrook, CEO of Social Enterprise UK (who are behind Buy Social for a Better World) said:


“All businesses must do more to meet the urgent challenges ahead; social enterprises are at the forefront of developing the solutions and fairness that we need. Social enterprises are the future of business – they are growing right across our economy and scaling quickly, creating outstanding products whilst doing what’s right for people and planet. Whether it’s creating fair and secure work or running renewable community energy schemes, they offer a beacon of hope and a blueprint towards a more sustainable and fairer future.

However, in order to succeed, social enterprises need your support. Consumers have real power and social enterprises can only create impact if people continue to buy from them. When you buy social, you’re helping to build a better world.”


Find Selnet’s Trade Directory at and follow #BuySocial for more about the campaign.


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Lancashire’s Leading Light: Selnet CEO Liz Tapner brings huge national award home to Lancashire

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.


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Selnet recognised in UK’s Top 100 Social Enterprises

Selnet have been recognised as one of the UK’s leading social enterprises in the 2019 NatWest SE100 Awards. We were delighted to have been shortlisted for the Growth category too, after securing 3 Building Better Opportunities projects, NatWest Skills and Opportunities funding and Lancashire’s crisis support (furniture) service. Partnership Manager Donna and Network Coordinator Dawn represented Selnet at the event, promoting the outstanding work happening across Lancashire, Blackpool and Blackburn with Darwen.

Selnet are working hard to shine a light on the social enterprises across the Lancashire area and to secure opportunities for start-up, development and growth of the sector – Opportunities like the Building for Sustainability leadership programme which we’re partnering with the Social Enterprise Academy to deliver. The deadline for applications is the 5th April, so apply now if you’d like to participate! 

This recognition for Selnet follows our CEO Liz Tapner’s recent awards, as the most influential woman in social enterprise (Social Enterprise UK, 2018) and as one of the top 100 Northern Power Women in 2019, across all sectors and industries in North of England.


SE100 Awards

Nearly 300 people gathered in central London this week to hear who had won the top spots in this year’s NatWest SE100 Awards. Seven awards were made to outstanding social enterprises from a shortlist of 40 spanning organisations working in many different parts of the UK, from Cornwall to Scotland. The Top 100 social enterprises from those who applied were also listed, in this year’s NatWest SE100 Index

The winners were:

It’s much harder to be a top social enterprise than a top enterprise… It requires a lot of passion, perseverance, and resilience.

– Simon Jacobs, NatWest


The strongest field yet

Speaking at the event, Simon Jacobs, chief administration officer at RBS/NatWest and chair of NatWest Social & Community Capital, the bank’s social investment charity, said: “It’s much harder to be a top social enterprise than a top enterprise. Not only do you need the great idea,  you need to be able to sell it and communicate it. You need to be really clear about your impact… Very often you’re working where there’s been some market dislocation or failure – that’s a really risky part of society to work in as a business. It requires a lot of passion, perseverance, and resilience.” He went on to praise the “powerful” network among the social enterprise sector, saying people were “really invested in the success” of one another. 

Eddie Finch, Partner at Buzzacott Accountants, said: “As far as this year’s SE100 is concerned I’d say that the quality of the field in all categories, but particularly the leaders’ award and the resilience category which I was closest to, was the best I can recall in the nine years of involvement. There was fantastic mix of imaginative and inspiring start-ups and mature business organisations that continue to deliver on economic and social inclusion, environmental sustainability and a host of other social value aims.”

The team at Buzzacott accountants – who have supported the SE100 since it launched nine years ago – carried out due diligence during the shortlisting process for the Growth, Trailblazing Newcomer and Resilience categories.

Neil McLean, CEO of the Social Enterprise Academy and one of the external judges, said: “In an era marked by the continual withdrawal of public resources and the need for greater international collaboration to tackle global issues, to learn of these initiatives being led by entrepreneurial leaders in social enterprise is inspiring and brings a much-needed optimism for the future. It has been an absolute privilege and a pleasure to be a part of the panel judging the 2019 SE100 awards. The entries are testament to the principle that it is not just possible for both social and business causes to be served and thrive but it’s an absolute imperative that it does so.”


Visit the Pioneer’s Post for more about the awards and to see the full top 100 list.


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Building for Sustainability


Do you want to feel more confident in the future of your social enterprise? The pressure is always on for leaders to manage the day to day demands of running a successful social enterprise while looking ahead at future contracts, partnerships and income streams…

Across the third sector, there is increasing need for organisations to be even more entrepreneurial, innovative and enterprising to improve the sustainability, address current challenges and seize new opportunities – but it can feel lonely at the top.

‘Building for Sustainability’ is more than a personal development programme; It is about building future leaders within a professional peer group to help shape their organisation to have a greater social impact. Read the press release on our exciting new programme here.

The combination of content, learning schedule and tutors combined to produce a thorough, insightful, thought provoking programme. I have applied the skills developed directly in my organisation with great results. The course created and safe environment to work with our peers. – Mhairi Peattie, previous learner

The Social Enterprise Academy are partnering with Selnet, the Lancashire social enterprise network, to deliver this unique and intensive programme that will:

  • Explore the skills, mind-sets and behaviours needed to be an enterprising and innovative leader;
  • Provide space for you to explore ideas and tools that can enhance your sustainability creating more opportunity to achieve your mission and vision;
  • Bring together senior leaders, committed to developing and growing their organisation to the next stage, to share and learn together.

Thank you for your applications to participate in the programme. These are being reviewed and delegates will be contacted in the coming days.

5 modules over 10 days | May 2019 – January 2020 | Central Lancashire

The ‘Building for Sustainability’ programme is delivered in partnership by the Social Enterprise Academy and Selnet and funded by the Postcode Innovation Trust.


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Selnet CEO in Top 100 Northern Power Women

Selnet are delighted to announce that our CEO Liz Tapner has been recognised again for her leadership impact and achievements in the North. Liz is a down to earth, open and no-nonsense leader with talent for bringing people together and enabling change for good. This latest award follows her Honorary Fellowship of Social Enterprise UK in 2017 and her national Women in Social Enterprise award in 2018 which recognised her as the UK’s most influential woman in the sector.

Being recognised in the Top 100 Northern Power Women from all sectors and industries reflects Liz’s impact in representing our sector and securing opportunities for conversations, contracts, and collaborations. Selnet was established to support the social enterprise sector across Lancashire; Only last week we announced a partnership with the Social Enterprise Academy to deliver an exceptional leadership development programme for social enterprise leaders in Lancashire and the North West. Applications are now open!


Top 100 Northern Power Women: full press release


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New Year, New Opportunity for Lancashire’s Social Entrepreneurs

Selnet and the Scottish Social Enterprise Academy join forces to launch the ‘Building for Sustainability’ leadership programme across Lancashire and the North West

Lancashire’s Social Enterprise Network ‘Selnet’ has brought over £12M of funding and contract opportunities for social enterprises across the county over the past 10 years. As a result, at the social enterprise sector’s annual awards event in London, Selnet CEO Liz Tapner was recognised as being the UK’s Most Influential Woman in Social Enterprise.

Selnet are starting 2019 by teaming up with the Scottish Social Enterprise Academy to launch a unique, intensive new programme to enhance the sector’s leadership skills across Lancashire and the North West.

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.

There are approximately 100,000 social enterprises in the UK, contributing £60 billion to the economy each year and employing approximately two million people (Social Enterprise UK). They operate in nearly every sector from selling quality consumer goods to providing health and social care services.

The pressure is always on for leaders to manage the day to day demands of running a successful social enterprise while looking ahead at future contracts, partnerships and income streams. Leaders need to be even more entrepreneurial, innovative and enterprising, working together to address current challenges and to seize new opportunities. This new programme aims to help leaders to do just that!

Speaking about the new programme, Scottish Social Enterprise Academy’s Olga Wojciechowska, said:

“Social Entrepreneurship is seeing the future in a way that no one else does.

This programme is about bringing together senior leaders, through exploring and nurturing skills, coaching and enabling them to share ideas and tools; all to enhance their organisations’ future sustainability and impact.”

Selnet and the Academy are calling for social enterprise leaders to apply for their place on the programme. CEO Liz said:

“Selnet ended 2018 on a high and 2019 is off to a flying start! We are thrilled to be joining forces with the Scottish Social Enterprise Academy to bring this phenomenal programme into Lancashire and the North West.

“It’s more than a personal development programme; it’s about building future leaders who can shape their organisations to have greater social impact in our communities.”

Thanks to support from players of the People’s Postcode Lottery, the fee for this programme has been highly subsidised and applications are now open. Follow the links from the Selnet homepage for the information you need to apply at





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Selnet CEO shortlisted for UK Social Enterprise Awards

The Selnet team are delighted to announce that our CEO, Liz Tapner, is a finalist in the UK Social Enterprise Awards.

The Awards recognise organisations for their business excellence and contribution to society, as well as the achievements of people working at the heart of the sector. Liz is shortlisted in the ‘Women in Social Enterprise’ category, which celebrates women working in the senior leadership team of a social enterprise who represents excellence in her field of work.

Winners will be announced at an Awards ceremony and gala dinner in a central London venue on Wednesday 28 November.

On announcing the shortlist, SEUK said “Congratulations to those organisations and individuals who have been shortlisted for this year’s UK Social Enterprise Awards! Once again we had an incredible response to the Awards with so many fantastic applications. The quantity and quality of work being done across the UK is hugely inspiring and a real testament to the strength of social enterprise in this country.”


Earlier this year Liz was awarded one of the UK’s first Honorary Fellowships by SEUK.



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