Why You Should Apply for the Social Enterprise Awards Scotland 2018

Posted: 30 May 2018, in Blog

The Social Enterprise Awards Scotland 2018 is now live and open for entries. From Social Enterprise of the Year to the new Environmental category, One to Watch and more – there’s an opportunity for every kind of organisation. Public and private sector allies can apply to the Market Builder category too, demonstrating any work they’re doing to support social enterprise development.

The awards are the biggest celebration of social enterprise in Scotland, recognising innovation, impact and success. The awards programme and evening celebration in The Scottish Parliament are well established in the social enterprise, third sector and business calendars.

Social Enterprise Scotland is now urging organisations to step up and apply and recognise their many achievements. The awards are open to anyone that meets the basic criteria, that family of diverse organisations that make up social enterprise, including enterprising charities, Community Interest Companies, Co-operatives, Housing Associations, Social Firms and others.

The question we often get asked is: why should I apply? Effectively, what is the purpose of the awards? What would we get out of it? With a plethora of annual awards ceremonies it’s a fair question and one worth answering.

If you identify as a Scottish social enterprise then certainly it’s the logical first choice. But also if you’re transitioning to a social enterprise model or you’ve just realised that you are one, then the awards are for you too.

First and foremost we strongly believe that social entrepreneurs should have their many achievements publicly recognised. They should have a bit of time to take a step back, reflect on the progress they’re making and also benchmark against a set of specific criteria. The awards allow organisations to appreciate the positive impact of their hard work and be recognised by their peers.

Crucially it’s a voice for those you’re helping, whether it’s people with disabilities, young people, empowering homeless people or helping ex-offenders. The awards are about acknowledging this positive social impact and raising the general profile of social enterprise across the board – ultimately giving recognition to the diverse groups of people you serve.

Marketing and promotion is essential for all social enterprises and it’s definitely something we don’t always pay enough attention to. Being shortlisted for or winning an award allows you to gain a higher public and media profile. It’s excellent free publicity, bringing in new customers and helping you access new markets. It makes you stand out from the crowd.

Award winners receive a unique artwork trophy for display, designed by a social enterprise, plus there’s an exclusive ‘Finalist’ or ‘Winner’ logo to use on websites, leaflets, vehicles and offices – helping build relationships and reputation. All winners get a free membership of Social Enterprise Scotland too.

The awards give applicants a profile beyond Scotland, as part of a programme recognised and promoted across the UK and abroad, with the opportunity to compete across the UK too. Winners also get a free ticket to the UK Social Enterprise Awards gala dinner in London.

Finally, there’s the evening awards ceremony in The Scottish Parliament. Whether you win an award, you’re shortlisted or just applied you deserve to be celebrated. All applicants are welcome to book a free place and join us for drinks, food and networking with social entrepreneurs and MSPs.

We’ll be announcing additional benefits for winners in the coming months and we’re happy to receive sponsorship proposals too. So get inspired, get motivated, recognise your achievements and apply today. We look forward to hearing all your brilliant social enterprise stories!