Thursday, 27 November 2014

Social Enterprise Awards 2014

One event in the year that all social entrepreneurs' look forward to is the 'Social Enterprise Awards' organised by UK's social enterprise governing body Social Enterprise UK. The event was held yesterday in London with lots of budding organisations in the social sector in attendance. The awards was judged by leaders across the sector including Founder of social enterprise GiveMeTap, Melanie Mills, Chief Executive, Social Enterprise West Midlands, Andrew Croft, Chief Executive of CAN and Edwin Brownin-Mensa. Sue Perkins hosted the event at London Symphony Orchestra St Luke's and, presenter winner's with their awards.

Social Enterprise Winners 2014

Belu - Consumer Facing Social Enterprise
Belu is the UK’s most ethical bottled water and donates 100% of its profits to WaterAid. 
Read more here>

City of London Corporation (CoL) - Buy Social Market Builder
The City of London Corporation (CoL) has contributed significantly to building the market for buying social both through influencing the City’s business community and through changing its own procurement practices.
Read more here>

Divine Chocolate - Overall Social Enterprise of the Year
Divine is a Fair-trade chocolate company part-owned by its cocoa farmers (Kuapa coco), who get a slice of the profits to invest in their communities.
Read more here>

Ethex & PEC Renewables – Investment Deal of the Year
In just 7 weeks, Ethex and PEC Renewables rallied investors and local authorities to raise £600,000 in social investment, funding solar panel installations to tackle fuel poverty in the local area. Supported by Plymouth County Council, the deal demonstrates how a national platform, a community-owned organization and local authority can work together to help harness a movement of socially-motivated investors to create real change on the ground.
Read more here> &
Firstport & Icecream Architecture - Inspiring Youth Enterprise Award
Firstport supports start-up social entrepreneurs in Scotland. Icecream Architecture CIC is a team of community-led facilitators, environmental artists, designers and illustrators who aim to boost regeneration, enterprise, youth engagement and civic pride. Together, the two organisations have created Beyond the Finish Line, a unique campaign getting young people in Glasgow to regenerate local high streets using social enterprise.
Read more here> &

Furnishing Lives (FRC Group) – Social Impact Award (Sponsored by PWC)
FRC Group started out by redistributing unwanted, good quality furniture to those in need. It is now a leading UK enterprise, running commercial businesses that give people in poverty and unemployment the opportunity to change their lives. It has been recognised for driving forward good practice in the sector, with what is believed to be the first truly integrated financial and social value report.

Monwel Ltd - One to Watch (Sponsored by the British Council)
Monwel produces signs and provides real employment to people with disabilities and those furthest from the work force.
Read more here>

June O’Sullivan MBE, London Early Years Foundation – Social Enterprise Women’s Champion
Under June O’Sullivan’s leadership, London Early Years Foundation has become the UK’s largest social sector childcare provider, operating 26 nurseries and providing high quality childcare to 3,000 children. June is a leader in her field: influencing government Early Years policy, cited by UNICEF as an international exemplar, and driving campaigns for change in early years provision.
Read more here>

Kilsyth Community Market Garden t/a Kelvin Valley Honey - Environmental Social Enterprise
Kelvin Valley Honey (KVH) aims to reverse the decline in Scotland’s honey bee population while improving the lives of people who may be isolated in their communities. Its work has helped increase Scotland’s honey bee population by almost 30 million, as well as provide 100 marginalised people with an income, training and employment.
Read more here>

PM Training- Education, Training & Jobs Social Enterprise
PM Training is a social enterprise that provides new work opportunities to 16-18 year olds through range of training and support services. It is currently the largest provider of apprenticeships for 16-18 year olds in the country, with 75% of those who compl
ete training securing jobs afterwards.
Read more here>

Social adVentures- Health & Social Care Social Enterprise
Social adVentures are a Salford-based wellbeing is a social enterprise helping people to lead healthier and happier lives. Through delivering public health and social care contracts and developing a number of subsidiary businesses, its turnover has grown by 300% in recent years, helping it support more than 3000 of the local community’s most vulnerable people.
Read more here>
 Image credit: Social Enterprise UK
Content: Eighteen Forever & Social Enterprise UK (2014)

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Fashion Weekend Gambia

"Fashion Weekend Gambia is a platform which aspires to bring designers and creative artists together to showcase creativity with all ambitions to introduce a more vibrant and promising fashion industry. This two day event is geared towards introducing not only Gambia`s young and talented fashion designers and artists, but also to promote all natural skin and hair products. This event does not only offer a potential point for existing designers but also an opportune moment for upcoming aspiring designers to be introduced to various people from various regions. Expect fashionably action packed with the best fashion trends and also a showcase of a few selected natural skin product lines. With an eclectic mix of Fashion, Health/Beauty and Arts the GFW (Gambia) will be a event to remember".

If you're interested in showcasing at this event, please contact the Event Organiser at>

Image credit: Fashion Weekend Gambia 

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Social Enterprise- the WHAT, WHY, WHO and HOW

Social enterprise WHAT?

Is social enterprise a charity? Social enterprises are businesses that aim to tackle social or environmental problems, improve communities or people’s livelihood. They trade like commercial businesses however their surplus is reinvested into the business for community benefit. Social enterprises are set-up to create positive change in the community they operate in. Charities are non-profit businesses who aim to ‘aid’ communities and not ‘trade’.
Social enterprise is not a new paradigm, in fact, it has existed for many years. The pioneers of social enterprise can be traced to Rochdale in the 1840s where a worker’s co-operative was established to provide high quality and affordable food in response to factory conditions that were considered to be exploitative (Social Enterprise UK, 2014). The evolution began in the 90s when different interest groups like enterprising charities, co-operatives, community enterprises and social businesses united in the hope of doing business for social change.
Social enterprise WHY?
Why should anyone set-up a business for the purpose of not making profit? Let’s just say someone or group of individuals have to take the lead to tackle problems many communities face as the austerity measures tightens. Although social enterprises are not immune to the economic downturn, research has shown that they are largely concentrated in the most deprived communities. Social Enterprise UK report (2013) revealed that, 38% of all social enterprises work in the most deprived 20% of the communities in the UK, 58% reported growth in 2011 and 57% predicted growth in 2013. The more deprived the community, the more likely a social enterprise will be established there. Evidently social enterprises are on the rise, there is an estimated 70,000 operating across different sectors and regions in the UK (Social Enterprise UK, 2013). The rise offers an opportunity to strengthen communities by improving standard of living, creating employment opportunities, supporting vulnerable people (including children and young people), improve health and wellbeing, protecting the environment, promoting education and literacy and addressing social exclusion.

Social enterprises have also helped to break down barriers in many areas of employment. For instance, 38% of social enterprise leaders are women and only 9% of social enterprises have male only leadership teams. 15% of social enterprises are from Black, Asia, Minority Ethnic communities (BAME) and 28% of the leadership teams have BAME directors. Equally important, social enterprises employ people who are at a disadvantaged- ex-offenders, disabled people or long-term unemployed (Social Enterprise UK report, 2013).
Social enterprise WHO?

Who can set-up a social enterprise? Anyone with a clear social and/or environmental mission can set up a social enterprise. However, the mission must be clearly defined on how the business will operate to meet its aims- through trading, community inclusion and reinvesting profits back into the business.

There are a number of social enterprises who have made significant changes through their services over the years- The Eden Project, The Big Issue, Jamie Oliver's restaurant Fifteen, Divine Chocolate, a fair trade chocolate company co-owned by the cocoa farmers’ cooperative KuapaKokoo in Ghana and Timewise, which connects professionals with flexible employment opportunities. Other emerging social enterprises are Eighteen Forever, a fashion design company set-up to create employment opportunities and promote diversity in fashion and Jekkah Clothing a social enterprise fashion brand from The Gambia.
Social enterprise HOW?
How can I set-up a social enterprise? First, you need to do some research about your mission and funding available specifically to social enterprises. You can contact Social Enterprise UK for advice or read through their FAQs for useful information. There are a number of School for Social Enterprises across the UK that would be of use to you, I advise you to contact them and seek guidance.

Social enterprises tackle community problems through social and/or environmental objectives. They are on the rise but not immune to the economic headwinds. Unlike commercial enterprises, they are managed and led by people as diverse as the communities they serve.
Social Enterprise UK (2013) The People's Business [online]

Author: Sally Kah

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Solange Knowles Weds Alan Ferguson

Yes! It's the wedding of the year thanks to Solange and Alan. There was so much speculation about this wedding after they were both spotted in whites at several red carpet events earlier this year. Today, the 'cool couple' tied the knot in New Orleans ditching all things traditional for something more personal. Solange wore a dress by Humberto Leon for Kenzo. Rog Walker was the commissioned photographer for unique protraits featuring sister Beyoncé, Janelle Monae and mother Tina Knowles.

Congratulations Mr & Mrs Ferguson! Wishing you all the best in your married life. Blessings xo

Lowdown in pictures....

Photo credit:
Keywords: #SolangeKnowles #AlanFerguson #Beyoncé #TinaKnowles #DanielJulez #JanelleMonae #Wedding #Family #NewOrleans #USA #Jay-Z #PowerWomen #Love #ItsAllAboutTheFerguson's 

Monday, 3 November 2014

House of Holland

If you didn't get a chance to see House of Holland SS15 Collection at Mercedez Benz Fashion Week, then you missed out big time. But not to worry, got the best 3 pictures from the event. The floral LS shirt is a delight but teamed with the metallic skater skirt is methodic. The orange lace is a fusion of urban chic and dynamite- a complete eccentric to the closet. And there was the over-powering collage of floral grace....pure admiration. Oh...and how startling are those sunglasses. Our verdict? Exquisite!

What they say about House of Holland

Known for his energetic sense of youthfulness and wit, London fashion star Henry Holland launched his label in 2006 with a range of quirky slogan T-shirts. Since then, the designer’s acid bright, contrasting colours, optical and graphic prints and irreverent take on style have garnered a following among international style tribes.

Photo credit: House of Holland/Eighteen Forever