Our Director, Sophie Unwin, was nominated for the Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award last month and we’re delighted to say that she won first prize – after a tough competition having been shortlisted down from over 220 social entrepreneurs.
The prize money of £10,000 will go to seed fund a new project to help other cities set up repair centres – based on the learning and example of our work in Edinburgh. We believe that, particularly in difficult financial times, finding ways to fix and mend things and buy quality second hand goods will be an asset to other communities.
The awards ceremony took place at Lloyds Banking Group HQ in London on 2nd November, and was hosted by entrepreneur and social innovator Oli Barrett MBE, and was buzzing with a social enterprise marketplace featuring the wares of SSE students and fellows.
These were Sophie’s words on accepting the Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award:
“I’m delighted to win, on behalf of the whole team, our volunteers and partners at Remade in Edinburgh and everyone who has voted to back our vision.
At the same time comparing us with the other social enterprises Dig In North West, Gendered Intelligence, GenieIn TheGutter, London Bubble Theatre – or even with the wider group, many of whom did not put themselves forward – is like comparing apples with oranges and bananas.
I’m genuinely so proud to have studied with this group of amazing people – many of whom have become friends. We share a common belief in making the world a better place, in tackling inequality and creating a fairer, greener society. We will stay in touch and continue to support each other.
Remade in Edinburgh is not just a practical project, it’s a campaign for zero waste. We want to see investment go into waste prevention, not just mopping up the problem once its created. And this analogy could cut across all the other issues that social enterprises work on: let’s back up our work with coordinated policies which invest in preventing the problems rather than curing them.
My hope is that policy makers will listen to the voice of social enterprises – not just for the solutions they can offer, but for the ways in which they represent their communities, especially in these divided times. Social enterprises come from all backgrounds, all parts of the country, and are often passionate about the issues they work on from personal experiences they’ve had. Organisations like School for Social Entrepreneurs play an amazing role in supporting individuals, and the organisations behind them.
Developing Remade in Edinburgh, and trying to increase our impact whilst creating a viable business model has been and continues to be a LOT of hard work, but it is team work, and that’s what makes it enjoyable and worthwhile.
Final shout to the team: Mario, Sotiris, Stephanie, Alex, Lee-Ann, Chris, Leon, all the incredible volunteers and tutors who do so much of the fixing, and all our colleagues at Community Help & Advice Initiative (CHAI) and The University of Edinburgh to our chair James Ranklin, to Edinburgh Council especially Gavin Corbett and Alasdair Rankin, to LUSH UK and of course to our funders at Bank of Scotland and Zero Waste Scotland.”
Once again, thank you to everyone who voted for us! We couldn’t have done it without you and we’re delighted to be able to play a part in building a market in repair education and harnessing awareness and opportunities around waste prevention in doing this.
We look forward to developing this story further with the aim of building a city with zero waste at its heart!