In 2005 Selnet was established by a group of Social Enterprise practitioners who recognised support needed for their sector to flourish. The network has since gone from strength to strength, all managed by social enterprises, for social enterprises:
It is absolutely overwhelming to receive this recognition – everything we do is to secure opportunities for social enterprises to deliver their crucial work.
Our team works hard to build the professional reach of social enterprises across Lancashire, Blackpool and Blackburn with Darwen. We are a membership network – our Expo event in January, workshops and promotion – we secure specialist advice and support for our sector – like DR!VE and Two/Zero – we enable partnership opportunities – like Building Better Opportunities and Under One Roof – and promote, highlight and celebrate our sector – especially through our Enterprise in Society annual awards event!
Liz Tapner MBE, Selnet CEO
Selnet’s work, from project management of partnerships, bidding for contract opportunities, accessing practical training and more – is all for their sector to connect, develop and grow.
Photos in our header above include:
- Our Social Business Expo on 17th January 2023 in Blackburn Cathedral
- Our “Building Better Opportunities” programme partnership meeting at Blackburn Rovers conference room on 12th January 2023
- International Women’s Day photo for a post of our team members Rachel Coupe, Alison Davies, Tracy Worden, Jill Blanshard and Maryam Patel
- Our 2022 Enterprise in Society awards event promoting our Award Winners on 4th November 2022
- NatWest SE100 Awards logo in formal announcement of 2023 winners
- CEO Liz Tapner MBE, Volunteer of the Year Kizzi from Spring Into Action, and Membership Lead Officer Yvette Holden at our annual Enterprise in Society awards
Applicants to this year’s SE100 have also painted a positive picture in terms of their outlook for the future – despite shrinking profits and continued worries about winning enough business, gaining investment and surviving the cost of living crisis.
This year’s SE100 Top 100 includes businesses and trading charities from across the UK delivering a diverse range of goods and services, from jobs and training to books, bread, period products, cycling and clean energy.
The list was selected according to a number of different criteria to reflect both business and impact issues – including financial performance, how thoroughly they measured and managed their impact, and their commitment to both climate issues and to taking positive action on equality and diversity.
The NatWest SE100 Index was created by Pioneers Post in partnership with NatWest Social & Community Capital, the bank’s independent social investment charity.
In our special feature today, you can search through the 100 either by viewing images they have selected to sum up their stories, or using the alphabetical list below.
Megan Virrels, CEO of NatWest Social & Community Capital, said:
“A huge congratulations to all those named in this year’s NatWest SE100 list. Social & Community Capital has been committed to supporting UK social enterprises for over 20 years, and we are constantly inspired by the resilience, ambition, and creativity that we see in the sector.
So we’re delighted to partner with Pioneers Post again to showcase the very best social enterprises across the UK and recognise the fantastic work of these impactful organisations.”
To enter the SE100 Index applicants were asked to complete our detailed SE100 Social Business Survey, which was carried out online between March and May 2023.
Altogether, the total revenues of those who entered the SE100 this year came to almost £512m. This figure represents significant growth compared to total revenues the year before of £393m. However, while turnover shot up, the total profits actually slid down – from £9.3m to £8.3m – perhaps suggesting that the money that social businesses are generating is having to be spread more thinly.
Despite finances appearing to be tighter for social businesses this year, the overall attitude expressed by those in our survey was far from gloomy. Some 90% told us they were making a more positive impact than the year before and three quarters said they were feeling optimistic about the future.
The biggest barriers to growth they identified were winning contracts and access to capital/investment, with staff recruitment/retention and the cost of living crisis also mentioned by many respondents.
Tim West, founding editor of Pioneers Post, said:
Like all businesses, social enterprises are dealing with the continued pressures and uncertainties of the cost of living crisis and other challenges that won’t go away any time soon – whether it’s about key contracts being renewed or the continued fallout from Brexit and its impact on staffing.
Running a social business is perhaps more challenging than ever before, and we know that a number of social investors, for example, have been bracing themselves for more of their investees to fail.
“But if we know anything about social entrepreneurs, it is that they are dedicated, resilient and full of positivity. What they seem to be telling us in this year’s SE100 survey is that they will use every ounce of their energy, skill and creativity to find solutions in the face of the hardest challenges, in service of their communities and their social mission.”
The NatWest SE100 also includes awards for leading social enterprises across seven categories. The finalists were announced last week and the winners were revealed at a special awards evening hosted by NatWest in London on 10 July. This was a hybrid event delivered both in-person and online.