Its current programme of delivering the government’s Work Programme and its various partnerships caught the eye of the judges at this year’s Enterprise In Society Awards, organised by the Social Enterprise Lancashire Network, Selnet. Bootstrap now has centres in Blackburn, Accrington and Burnley.
The event was staged at Blackburn’s Dunkenhalgh Hotel (Fri, Oct 7) with more than 250 social enterprises from across Lancashire vying for position in 10 categories.
The highlight of the night was announcing the Best Large Social Enterprise Of The Year, the most competitive category, with Bootstrap Enterprises confirmed winners.
The award seals a challenging, yet rewarding, 12 months for the social enterprise with a number of existing contracts coming to an end and successfully competing to secure a host of new ones. Even in a challenging economic climate, Bootstrap is on course to see turnover grow by 25% in the current year.
Elizabeth Taylor, chief executive at Bootstrap Enterprises, said: “I’m delighted that our work has been recognised as the best large social enterprise in Lancashire. I am very proud of our achievements and the business is in good shape to develop in future years.
“In the last financial year, we helped more than 700 people into paid employment and also assisted more than 2000 local people with work-related advice and guidance.
“It really is a team effort and I would like to thank all the staff for playing their part in our success.”
Bootstrap has also established a range of own separate trading arms; Bootstrap Services providing accountancy services to Community Organisations, Charities and Social Enterprises, Rebound Book Shop offering training opportunities selling second hand books and fair trade products in Blackburn; and Prestige Services providing home-help services to almost 400 older or disabled people.
Liz Tapner, network manager at Selnet, said: “Bootstrap Enterprises are a shining example of what social enterprise can achieve. They run a large business for the social good and profits are ploughed back into the company so it can grow, rather than for the benefit of shareholders.
“They faced fierce competition on the night from the likes of Brighter Future Workshop, which received the Queen’s Award for Enterprise this year, and Progress Employment Support. It was great to see them win, especially on ‘home soil’ in Blackburn and it is fair to say their table erupted when they heard the good news!”
The awards ceremony, now in its second year, also saw entertainment from the students of Darwen Aldridge Community Academy who wowed the audience with the street dance they performed for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge earlier this year.