Sharon Reid


Five entrepreneurs have been shortlisted as finalists for the Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2017; one lucky entrepreneur will be £10,000 better of, there is also a second prize of £6,000 and third prize of £4,000.

The finalists have been selected from the Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Scale Up Programme, in partnership with School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE), and jointly funded by the Big Lottery Fund.

With fierce competition; more than 200 social entrepreneurs applied for the programme, and only 40 were selected following a gruelling Dragon’s Den –style panel. The judges then picked five finalists to run for Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2017 – based on the following criterion: impact; achieved growth; and the potential of their plans. The finalists were provided with important tools required for building a successful business: financial support (a grant of £15,000), along with a comprehensive learning programme courtesy of SSE, and a Lloyds Banking Group business mentor to help develop their enterprise and increase its social impact.

The shortlisted social entrepreneurs embody the definition of a social enterprise by utilising innovative ways to solve pressing social issues within their local communities. Speaking of the way the finalists have thrived, Alastair Wilson, CEO of School for Social Entrepreneurs said:

“Each of this year’s finalists really does deserve to win the Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2017. It has been fantastic to see their development over the past year through the support of the Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Programme, in partnership with SSE and jointly funded by the Big Lottery Fund. They are creating tangible social change within their communities through their continued hard work and I wish them the very best of luck.”

The five finalists who have been shortlisted for the award are:

Katie Buckingham, Altruist Enterprises, Birmingham – a social enterprise which provides resilience, stress management and mental health first aid training to schools and organisations across the UK, raising awareness of mental health in the workplace and supporting skills development to prevent, identify and resolve problems.

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Katie Buckingham – Altruist Enterprises

Cemal Ezel, Change Please, London  a social enterprise which uses coffee as a way out of homelessness. Change Please trains homeless people to become baristas and provides a London-living wage job, housing and bank account and therapy support to its beneficiaries.

Cemal Ezel – Change Please

Nikki Markham, Battling On, Cornwall a social enterprise which supports veterans to reintegrate into civilian life. The veterans are trained and employed as mentors and instructors to support vulnerable young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and adults with disabilities.

Nikki Markham – Battling On

Rachel Roger, Reform Radio, Manchester – a social enterprise which delivers skills-development opportunities for 18-30 year old’s through its industry standard online radio station. Opportunities include traineeships, creative outreach programmes, pastoral support and volunteering to support young people into employment.


Rachel Roger – Reform Radio

Maggie Sikora, Mapis, Reading  a social enterprise which supports young people and adults from disadvantaged backgrounds to develop new skills and confidence to increase their employability, through qualifications in fashion, beauty and retail.

Maggie Sikora – Mapis

 Have your say

Voting is open to the public and closes on 31st October 2017 at 5pm. To vote via text message, text ‘SEYA17 (finalist’s first name) to 82228. Texts are FREE.

The winner of the Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award will be announced at a ceremony in London on the evening of 16th November 2017. To help cast your vote, all the finalists have made videos, for further details please visit :