Celebrating outstanding Social Businesses at the SBW Awards 2018

Celebrating outstanding Social Businesses at the SBW Awards 2018


The social business sector in Wales is dynamic and growing, operating across a range of sectors, supplying goods and services as well as contributing to the local community. A ‘social business’ is an umbrella term that refers to a variety of organisation types, including co-operatives, social enterprises and employee owned businesses.

In the ‘Mapping the Social Business Sector in Wales’ report commissioned by Social Business Wales and conducted by Wavehill Ltd, research shows that the sector is worth £2.37bn to the Welsh economy with 1,698 organisations identified as operating in the social business sector in Wales and is supporting up to 41,000 jobs and offers opportunities to volunteer to approximately 48,000 – 58,000 people. The report also highlights:

“It has been noted that social businesses are diversifying, becoming less reliant on grants, are more innovative and are more likely to trade with other businesses and the public”.


The research demonstrates that the sector is thriving, with many innovative businesses in Wales. But maybe this comes as no surprise, given Wales’s roots in the co-operation movement, Robert Owen (1771–1858) a Welshman who made his fortune in the cotton trade is considered as the father of the cooperative movement. Co-operative societies were established across Wales in the early 1840s and the first co-operative set up in Cwmbach, in 1859/60, which was modelled on the pioneer co-operative in Rochdale, was the 'beginning' of co-operation in Wales. Co-operation became a central part of the culture of the local community, people identified with, and were loyal to, their co-operative societies, which became ingrained in their way of life.


The Awards


Held at Cardiff’s City Hall on the 26th September, the Social Business Wales Awards highlight social businesses in Wales which are making a significant economic and social impact and recognises excellence within the social business sector in Wales.

The evening, delivered by Social Business Wales, brought together over 220 of Wales’s leading figures from the social business sector, to celebrate the positive impact that social enterprises, co-operatives, and employee-owned businesses are having across Wales.

Splash Community Trust received the Welsh Social Enterprise of the Year Award, after it saved a disused Wrexham centre from demolition and transformed it into an invaluable leisure facility. Natural Weigh scooped One to Watch Award and a special recognition award was presented to Skye Instruments. Other winners on the night included re-use and recycling charity Toogoodtowaste; health and social care enterprise Antur Waunfawr; digital technology co-operative ProMo Cymru; employment, education and training enterprise Empower – Be The Change; and wood re-use and recycling enterprise Reseiclo Community Wood Recycling.

As part of our commitment to delivering growth in the third sector, BIC Innovation were delighted to sponsor the ‘Health and Social Care’ category at this year’s Awards. Having worked with many health and life science clients to help them innovate and commercialise ideas, we were inspired by the commitment and indeed by the positive impacts created by the three social enterprises shortlisted for this award.  


Link-UP Care which provides Personal Assistants to support disabled people and their families.

Age Cymru who work in the community to support older people, their families and carers.

Antur Waunfawr, who provide employment and training opportunities for people with learning disabilities in their own community


The winner of the category was Antur Waunfawr. Antur Waunfawr is committed to developing in a sustainable way – which means that protecting the natural environment and developing green businesses is integral to the values of the company.  Antur’s vision, however, is to combine this with the concept of integrating people with learning difficulties to every aspect of work. Established in 1984, the company has developed to employ more than 90 staff and supports over 60 adults with learning difficulties.


Huw Watkins, Managing Director at BIC Innovation who presented the award said:

’It is often easy to underestimate the economic contribution made by the third sector in Wales but the Social Business Wales awards this year highlighted the diversity, ambition and impact of the finalists and rightly raised their profile in recognition of their achievements.’


We would like to wish a big Congratulations to Antur Wanfawr, and to all of the inspiring winners and deserving nominees who are making a fantastic impact across Wales. The winners will now go forward to compete with their counterparts at a UK Awards ceremony.

Pob lwc i pawb!

Find out more: Social Business Wales

Social Business Wales Awards 2018