Social Enterprise of the Year Spotlight: Isle of Skye Ferry CIC

Posted: 28 June 2024, in Awards

Why did you apply to the Social Enterprise Awards Scotland 2023? 

We applied on the grounds that we were one of the first CICs to be formed in Scotland and have operated successfully for 17 years. We had never entered before and thought that it would be a nice way to introduce ourselves to the wider Social Enterprise community in our home country. 

How did the Awards benefit you?

The awards were a great way to showcase the progress we have made since our beginnings in 2002 and being shortlisted gave us a great moral boost. Often, because we operate in a tiny, remote community, we can feel somewhat isolated from all that is going on in other parts of the country and the awards ceremony was a lovely way of meeting other people and companies that are doing worthwhile things.

What progress have you made since winning the Social Enterprise of the Year category?

Winning the Social Enterprise of the Year category was a huge honour, in particular being shortlisted amongst such impressive organisations who are doing such important and worthy things.  

We have been able to ‘show off’ a bit – displaying our award and shouting about it whenever we can. It was an enormous boost to team morale and really gave everyone involved a real sense of pride.  We are a small company with a workforce of 18 people, who work tirelessly to look after our important piece of maritime heritage and provide a unique and enjoyable experience to all who visit us. Team spirit is what has driven the success of the company – everyone mucks in and does whatever they can to help. Being recognised as an example of excellence has given us increased confidence in what we do and drives our continued efforts to improve the visitor experience, provide meaningful employment for local people and to benefit and support our local community. 

What would you say to someone considering entering the 2024 Social Enterprise Awards Scotland?

DO IT! The application process is not arduous in any way and, in fact, filling in the answers can organise your thoughts about your operation in a useful way. The questions will encourage you to consider carefully what the benefit of what you do is – and even that is good for the soul. 

Also – it’s a great way of getting your organisation on the radar of other Social Enterprises and those who are involved in the promotion and support of such things. It never hurts to be known – and you might win! 

What is next for your organisation? What can we look forward to or expect?

The ferry company is exploring how we can significantly reduce our carbon footprint, reduce costs and become a cleaner and greener, more sustainable organisation. We are looking to employ someone via the Graduate Placement Programme to research alternative fuel/propulsion system for the ferry and to install renewable energy systems at our Shore Station building. 

Winning Social Enterprise of the Year, Scotland 2023 meant that we were automatically shortlisted as a finalist in Social Enterprise of the Year, UK. We would not have considered putting ourselves forward for that, thinking that we were probably too small an organisation to be considered, given the competition on a UK scale. 

We got dressed up and went to the Roundhouse in London, for what felt like the Social Enterprise Oscars! Met some great people, had a lovely meal (and lots of wine!) and heard some extraordinary stories of Social Enterprise successes. Then, in the final category to be announced – WE WON!!!! 

Could have knocked us over with a feather. 

Nothing ventured – nothing gained, seems the most fitting phrase.