Scottish Social Entrepreneurs Win UK Social Enterprise Awards

Posted: 04 April 2011, in Press Release

Scottish Social Entrepreneurs Win UK Social Enterprise Awards

Chief Executive of Third Sector Hebrides, one of Scotland’s most successful social enterprises, Alasdair Nicholson, and Stonelaw High School in Glasgow are celebrating after each winning a prestigious UK Social Enterprise Award.

Alasdair was crowned as Social Enterprise Unsung Hero and Stonelaw High School won the Young Social Enterprise of the Year Award at the national final in The O2 in London on Wednesday 30 March.

Organised by the Social Enterprise Coalition the awards, which were hosted by actor and comedian Alexander Armstrong, recognise the work and achievements of the UK’s most inspiring and successful social enterprises. The Leader of the Opposition, Ed Miliband was also present to give out one of the seven awards.

Alasdair, who was nominated by others who thought that his work and dedication deserved recognition said: “It is an honour and privilege to be given this individual award by UK social enterprise peers. It recognises the work we have been doing here in the Hebrides which could not have been achieved without the effort of so many other people including the contribution and trust of Chairs and Board Members who shared our enterprise vision where anything is possible. There is much more to do and social enterprise development is a key cornerstone of our approach and philosophy.”

Third Sector Hebrides was set up to support the local voluntary sector, giving advice and support on promoting community planning. During his time there Alasdair has taken it from a small CVS employing one and a half people in 1985 to an organisation which today has a staff of 40 and a turnover of £1 million.

Teacher, Isabel Gilchrist from Stonelaw High School said: “We were over the moon to win the UK award. The children are a real credit to Scotland, and we hope that winning this award will lead to increased business for our social enterprise leading to more profit so we can support more vulnerable children in South Africa.”

Stonelaw students have been running a successful social enterprise called Stonelaw High School Traders since 2003.  The company sells fair trade goods to pupil, parents, staff and the community. After reinvesting in stock, all profits are sent to South Africa to support the education of Aids orphans.

Antonia Swinson, Chief Executive of the Scottish Social Enterprise Coalition said: “Once again Scottish social enterprises are striding a UK stage and competing with the best. The Scottish Social Enterprise Coalition is delighted that young social entrepreneurs and also a leading social entrepreneur from the Outer Hebrides have been honoured at these Awards in London.”

Social enterprises are businesses run for social and environmental purposes, reinvesting their profits – there are approximately 62,000 of them in the UK with a combined turnover of at least £27 billion, and they contribute £8.4 billion per year to the UK economy, employing nearly a million people. In Scotland, social enterprises are estimated to contribute around £2 billion to the Scottish economy every year.

Peter Holbrook, CEO of the Social Enterprise Coalition said: “Congratulations to both on their well deserved win. The Social Enterprise Coalition received a record number of responses to this year’s awards so to have come out on top is a truly remarkable achievement.

“People like Alasdair and Stonelaw High School show just what can be achieved through social enterprise and it is great to be able to take the time to acknowledge their contribution to the movement.”

Some well know examples of social enterprises include The Big Issue and Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen restaurants. They operate in almost every industry in Britain, from health and social care to renewable energy, from retail to recycling, from employment to sport, from housing to education.


Notes to Editors

For more information, please contact the Social Enterprise Coalition press office on 020 7793 2286 / 2318 or Paula McNulty at Weber Shandwick on 0131 556 6649 / 07770 886 924 or

The Social Enterprise Coalition ( is the UK’s national body for social enterprise.  The Coalition represents a wide range of social enterprises, regional and national support networks and other related organisations. We work with our members to inform the national policy agenda, showcase the benefits of social enterprise, and share best practice.

Social enterprises are businesses with primarily social objectives whose surpluses are principally reinvested for that purposes in the business or in the community, rather than being driven by the need to maximise profit for shareholders and owners.