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Social entrepreneurs celebrated with awards at Good Deals conference



Three leading social entrepreneurs have been presented with awards to celebrate the impact individuals have in making social change happen across the world.

The trio received their accolades in a ceremony to conclude the annual Good Deals social investment conference. This year’s event looked at how charities and social enterprises can engage with opportunities offered by social investment and how to make change happen.

Sakena Yacoobi was one of the winners. She founded the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL), which aims to address the crisis of poor access to health and education service for Afghan people, with a particular focus on women and children. The organisation was asked to support underground schools after the Taliban banned them.

Yacoobi spoke about how AIL works with social investors. She said, “Both the implementing organisation and the social investor or donor need to be in agreement on their vision and concepts of how to do the work.

“Most people in Afghanistan want education for their children and they want to be healthy and have a good life. To be a change agent for long-term impact you have to work in complete cooperation with the community.”

Sophi Tranchell also won an award for her enterprise Divine Chocolate, the first and only Fairtrade chocolate company that is 45% owned by the cocoa farmers. She commented, “Now the giants of the chocolate industry have followed our lead and have converted some of their products to fairtrade. We’re proof that social enterprise in this sector can work.”

Meanwhile, Sir Ronald Cohen, who is currently the chair of the world’s first social investment bank, Big Society Capital, was also honoured. Cohen, who was described as playing an instrumental role in the formation of the UK social investment marketplace, said, “The UK is a leading light in the development of a social investment market.”

Meanwhile, Timewise Foundation, a social business that champions part-time and flexible work, also received an opportunity to grow and potentially win awards in the future. The organisation won a £100,00 investment from RBS Group Microfinance Funds at the conference.

Three social ventures were shortlisted to pitch to a panel of investors and Timewise received overwhelming support from the panel.

Co-founder Emma Stewart said, “Stimulating more quality part time jobs in the economy has the potential to create significant social and economic impact – an important step towards building a resilient and sustainable society.”

Further reading:

Social enterprise generate £2.7 billion to plough back into society

UBS: China can make ‘generational leap’ in responsible investment

Money invested in UK sustainable investment funds increased 30% in year

‘Research council’ formed by industry leaders to deepen social investment market

Qatar sovereign wealth fund consider impact investment