Sheffield has been named an official Social Enterprise City winning a national award recognising it as a hot-spot of social enterprise activity.

Social Enterprises are businesses with a social or environmental mission. They are a fast growing and important part of the local and national economy helping re-generate communities, create jobs where they are needed most and reduce inequalities. The award is granted by Social Enterprise UK the membership body for UK social enterprises and Sheffield now joins a leading group of pioneering hotspots around the UK and the world.

The city has a long history of social enterprise activity and is home to social enterprises operating in sectors ranging from tech and manufacturing to community farms, cafes and even renewable energy projects. Examples include Sheffield Live, a social enterprise running the city’s community radio and television stations; ZEST – A community enterprise that delivers services to tackle local inequalities; social enterprise cafes such as Fusion Café which trains young adults with learning difficulties; and Sheffield Renewables who fund, build, own and operate renewable energy schemes.

These established social enterprises have been joined by a wave of new start-ups such as co-working space Union St and Suit Works a social enterprise providing suits and training for homeless men. You can even go for a drink at the Gardener’s Rest, the city’s very own community owned social enterprise pub.

Sheffield’s bid was put together by a range of institutions in the city and is chaired by Darren Chouings of the Sheffield Social Enterprise Network (SSEN).

Darren said: “I am thrilled for Sheffield to be recognised formally as a Social Enterprise Place under such a prestigious national scheme. The SSEN’s future plans for the city are now supported by an excellent steering group made up from key stakeholders from across Sheffield’s business community.

“Together, we aim to increase awareness of the value created by our local Social Enterprises, and provide new ways to support them in their work.”

Peter Holbrook, Chief Executive of Social Enterprise UK said: “Sheffield is a city with a proud heritage and I am delighted to announce that it is being recognised as a Social Enterprise City. It has seen the coming and going of heavy industry and has forged ahead to create a city that is diverse and facing the future with a sense of optimism despite the many challenges we face.

“Social enterprises have a crucial role to play if we’re to tackle rising inequalities and build an economy that works for everybody. Sheffield’s social enterprises are more than doing their part, working hard to tackle some of the city’s and societies most pressing challenges.”