Santander and UnLtd have today announced 10 of the UK's most ambitious social entrepreneurs as winners of this year's SEDA Fast Growth Awards.
The Fast Growth Awards are part of Santander's Social Enterprise Development Awards (SEDA) programme which offers social enterprises across the UK the opportunity to access funding and hands-on support to help them grow and increase their social impact for the benefit of their local community.
The award winners will each receive a £20,000 cash award and a programme of support to help them strengthen and grow their ventures.
Based as far apart as London, Durham, Stratford-on-Avon, Hampshire, Belfast and Pembrokeshire, the entrepreneurs are all in the early stages of their ventures but have demonstrated great potential to be able to scale them up to a national or even international level.
John Williams, Head of the Breakthrough Programme, Santander, said:
"The SEDA Fast Growth award winners are very ambitious entrepreneurs who have identified a social problem and have a scalable solution for it. We're delighted this award provides both monetary and business support which will help them realise their ambitions and grow their ventures."
Albert Chong, Fast Growth lead at UnLtd, said:
"The SEDA Fast Growth award winner entrepreneurs are driven to use enterprise for good. We are very excited to be working with Santander to grow these promising ventures and are looking forward to helping them develop their organisations over the coming year, so they can take advantage of opportunities such as investment and accelerate to the next level."
Among the SEDA Fast Growth winners are:
Jenny Dawson, Rubies in the Rubble (based in London)
Rubies in the Rubble is a food waste initiative which employs disadvantaged people to make chutneys out of food that would otherwise go to waste. Jenny became interested in food waste after seeing the amount of fruit and vegetables getting thrown away in London's food markets and left her job in investment banking to set up the company.
Paul Humphries, The Bright Ideas Trust (based in London)
The Bright Ideas Trust helps disadvantaged and marginalised young people to start up their own enterprises by providing training, mentoring and start-up funding. Paul set up the venture with The Apprentice winner Tim Campbell in order to help young people take responsibility for the direction their lives take and help increase social mobility.
Peter Tryner, Star Community Foundation (based in Stratford upon Avon)
The Star Community Foundation recycles clothes, furniture and other unwanted items to raise money to help disadvantaged young people engage in sport and creative activities. Money raised from recycling goes into funding clubs and providing sporting and creative activities for young people. Activities include free swimming lessons and the venture also works with schools, running a range of sports activities including after school clubs. Adults facing barriers to employment are recruited to help run the venture.
Bethany Ainsley, Nouveau Dance & Fitness (based in Durham)
Nouveau Dance & Fitness provides affordable fitness programmes to people in areas of high deprivation. The programmes help tackle health inequalities by encouraging people to improve their physical and mental health. Bethany set up her venture after seeing the impact sedentary lifestyles have on health inequalities.
Santander has a comprehensive programme of support for social entrepreneurs and social ventures aimed at helping the social enterprise sector to grow. In addition to the £2 million SEDA fund, the bank is providing funding to UnLtd for Spark which enables social entrepreneurs to share their knowledge and experience of setting up a venture and SEUK's SE Places scheme which is promoting areas of the UK where social businesses are thriving.
For further information on the SEDA awards, go to www.santanderseda.co.uk.