Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Awards Ceremony

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Awards Ceremony

Article excerpt

The third Upstarts Awards, held at Interbrand in central London on Wednesday 11 February 2004, reflected the increasing diversity of companies that combine business structures with ethical goals. But the gravity of the winners' work did not stop the guests enjoying an entertaining evening. The compere, the television and radio presenter Adrian Chiles, set the tone by reassuring the audience: "I normally work for the BBC, but all the facts in this presentation are double-sourced."

Mervyn Pedelty, chief executive of the Co-operative Bank, and Geoffrey Robinson, chairman of the New Statesman, preceded the announcement of who had won the awards by praising the valuable work done by the sector. The minister for small business and enterprise, Nigel Griffiths, who presented the awards, described them as the "best so far" and praised the "heroes" of social enterprise," the people who build on people and at the same time have created some of the most successful business ventures in Britain".

Yet Stephen Sears, the winner of the title Social Entrepreneur of the Year, was modest about his achievements. When asked how he resisted offers from capitalist competitors, he replied that he had had no such offers. "They obviously don't think I'm that good," he said. Sears stressed that social enterprises can pay well and still compete with the private sector. Suzanna Jacoby, Young Entrepreneur of the Year, had to convince Chiles that the parents she works with at Community Foster Care are not "in it for the money". "Anyone who is a parent must know it is a difficult job," she explained. "The children have mainly had very difficult backgrounds and are very challenging to look after."

Graham Bell, chief executive of the Kibble centre, the winner of the Social Enterprise of the Year Award, staked its claim to be the UK's oldest social enterprise, established in 1859. …

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