Winners of the National Social Enterprise Award!

Creative Alliance has won the award for ‘Social Enterprise of the Year for Education, Training and jobs’ at this year’s UK Social Enterprise Awards.

CA Team with SEUK Award
The Digbeth-based social enterprise attended the ceremony, held on London’s South Bank on 26th November.

The national competition recognises excellence and outstanding achievements by social enterprises – businesses that reinvest their profits, benefitting people and planet. The UK now has more than 70,000 social enterprises, contributing more than £24billion to the economy each year.

Creative Alliance is one of these, established in order to enable talented young people to get into learning, training and working in creative roles. The organization provides young people in the Midlands with opportunities to work for prominent companies such as McCann, Birmingham Rep, the RSC, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and WAA, amongst others.

They work collaboratively with both young people seeking their first steps into this highly competitive sector and employers looking to expand their businesses with new creative talent.

They do this through apprenticeships, internships and traineeships. Creative Alliance enjoys tremendous success in these ventures, with 80% of those completing their apprenticeship moving into full-time employment and 15% moving directly onto Higher Education.

Noel Dunne, Director of Creative Alliance, said,

“Achieving national recognition for our work in education, training and jobs is a testament to the combined efforts of our team and the employers and young people we work with.

We’re proud to work as a social enterprise and grow the business through continually reinvesting in it. This means we can work with more talented young people looking to learn, train and work in creative, digital and marketing roles.”

Birmingham has one of the largest concentrations of social enterprises in the country and the number is highest in the Digbeth/Highgate area, where over 75 social enterprises are currently based. Led by the support and development agency iSE CIC (Initiative for Social Entrepreneurs) these businesses came together in 2013 to form the Digbeth Social Enterprise Quarter (DSEQ).


Sarah Crawley, CEO of iSE, commented,

“We are so proud that a member organisation from the Digbeth Social Enterprise Quarter has achieved this National Award and recognition”.

The awards ceremony took place at the Underglobe and was well-attended by 400 guests including fashion designer Katharine Hamnett CBE, and model and entrepreneur Jo Wood. The winners were presented with bespoke trophies made by the Yorkshire based social enterprise, Henshaws Arts & Crafts, which supports people with disabilities.

The awards are organised by Social Enterprise UK, the national trade body for social enterprise.

Peter Holbrook CBE, Social Enterprise UK’s Chief Executive, said:

“Social enterprises are needed more than ever to tackle the social and environmental problems facing Britain. Congratulations Creative Alliance – the competition was fierce.

“Every year the Awards are a celebration of the social enterprise sector, but this year was truly remarkable. It was the largest Awards we’ve hosted to date with more than 400 guests and a wonderful evening for the UK’s social enterprise business community.”

Social enterprise facts and figures:


  • There are 70,000 social enterprises in the UK, contributing 24 billion to the UK economy and employing 1 million people.

  • Social enterprises are experiencing a start-up boom – 35% are three years old or less, three times the proportion of SME start-ups.

  • Social enterprises are much more likely to be led by women than mainstream businesses – 40% of social enterprises have a female leader, compared with 18% of SMEs and 5% of FTSE 100 companies.

Sponsors of the Awards are NatWest, The Co-operative Bank, PwC, Saxton Bampfylde, Big Society Capital, Bates Wells Braithwaite, Johnson & Johnson, Wates Group, Landmarc, GLL, Santander and the British Council. The Independent on Sunday is media partner to the Awards.