Last month Pioneers Post announced its 2020 WISE100 list, recognising women in social enterprise for their contributions to the sector in what has been an exceptionally difficult year. Inspired by this list of trailblazing women, we wanted to shine a spotlight on a number of enterprises led by incredible women. Each of them is a Trusted Supplier on the Supply Change platform, offering top quality products and services and creating positive impact at the same time.
When it comes to women in leadership, social enterprises are leading the way in the world of business. According to recent research over 40% of social enterprises are led by women, twice as high as in traditional SMEs. Not only are they tackling gender inequalities through leadership and progressive employment practices, but many social enterprises, like Munch in Marylebone, also exist to support and empower women.
Part of The Marylebone Project, Munch in Marylebone provides a catering service for organisations and events across London. This service creates training and employment opportunities for women facing difficulties, and all profits made go towards the project’s work supporting women affected by homelessness, domestic violence, substance use, unemployment and mental health. They do this by providing shelter, emotional support, educational opportunities and more in a welcoming and secure environment. The project offers long and short term beds to homeless women as well as essential facilities and support to women at their rough sleeper’s drop-in at the Marylebone Centre.
Situated just off Brick Lane in London, Canvas Café is a vegan café and community hub. Set up and headed up by actress and puppeteer Ruth Rogers, the social enterprise exists to support and enable new ideas with a social mission, helping to create positive change throughout London. It acts as ‘a blank canvas for positive activism’.
Since its launch in 2014 The Canvas Café has helped enable numerous social initiatives to establish themselves, from supper clubs providing meals for refugees, to the first Museum of Happiness. They offer free and discounted space for the growth and incubation of these kinds of projects and people come to the café most days to access free events.
Bounce Back is a charity and social enterprise dedicated to offering training and employment to people in and leaving prison. These opportunities are provided within its own painting and decorating businesses. The organisation evolved from a CSR project with a brand design consultancy in 2011 and was founded by Francesca Findlater who, along with her team, saw the potential of making the initiative into a sustainable social enterprise. Since then, Bounceback has grown year on year. It now has a 40 strong team working for a diverse range of clients including major construction companies, local authorities, housing associations and private residential properties.
Ellen Petts spent ten years in campaign work in waste awareness for local and national government before setting up Greenstream Flooring in 2008. The social enterprise aims to maximize the community benefit of the re-use and sales of flooring. They operate nationwide, providing a waste and resource collection of commercial carpet tiles. They also offer an office flooring refit service, in which trained fitters provide quality, minimal waste flooring fitting in commercial, community and domestic properties. Clients range from major public bodies to small start-up private businesses.
Belu is an environment-first water company which is also helping to tackle water poverty around the world. They provide filtration systems, water coolers, British natural mineral water and refillable bottles in fully recyclable packaging. Not only are their products carbon neutral, Belu also donates 100% of its net profits to WaterAid, helping to transform the lives of people across the globe by providing access to clean water.
Belu is led by not one but two incredible women, heading up the organisation as co-CEOs. Natalie Cambell began as CEO in March 2020 and is an award-winning social entrepreneur, author and co-founder of a global social innovation agency. Charlotte Harrington joined as Campbell’s co-CEO later in the year, stepping up from her role as COO where she supported the social enterprise to grow and enter new markets. Prior to this she had a successful career in retail, including as Category Director at Tesco. Belu is demonstrating the possibilities of joint leadership with these two brilliant women at its helm, who are working together to help the organisation to thrive.
At Supply Change we’re proud to be a women-led organisation and an all female team. We help to connect social enterprise suppliers, like those above, to buyers looking to an impact through their procurement spend. Get in touch with the team to find out how you can make a positive difference through who you buy your everyday goods and services from. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org