Liz Tapner wins social enterprise crown

Liz Tapner, the chief executive of Selnet, has been crowned the most influential woman in the UK's social enterprise scene.

Liz Tapner Selnet

The awarded was handed out by Social Enterprise UK at a prize-giving ceremony at the Guildhall in the City of London.

The national awards are designed to highlight the work being done in the social enterprise community, recognising the outstanding achievements of businesses which trade for a social purpose.

Liz heads up the Preston-based Selnet, Lancashire’s social enterprise network. The award recognises her achievements in leading a partnership of 50 charities and social enterprises in Lancashire to help people with multiple problems in their lives to get closer to the workplace.

The scheme, called Building Better Opportunities, will cost £9.2m over three years and is funded by the European Union and the National Lottery.

Liz said: "I’ve been with Selnet for more than 10 years and I am so honoured to represent the social enterprise sector and will continue to shout about the amazing work that happens across Lancashire.

"I’ve really come a long way. I would like to take the opportunity to thank my incredible team, Selnet board of directors and everyone who has supported me on my own journey. We’ve got big plans for the coming year so bring on 2019! “

Liz was one of the first 15 social enterprise leaders to be awarded an Honorary Fellowship by Social Enterprise UK in 2017. This latest award sets Liz apart as the UK’s most influential woman in social enterprise.

Social Enterprise UK says there are approximately 100,000 social enterprises in the UK, contributing £60bn to the economy each year and employing approximately two million people. They operate in nearly every sector from selling quality consumer goods to providing health and social care services.

Peter Holbrook chief executive of Social Enterprise UK said: "In the troubling, uncertain times we’re living in, social enterprises are a beacon of hope. They are showing that another way of doing business is possible, one rooted in the values of community, equality and fairness.

"This year’s winners are testament to the strength and diversity of the social enterprise movement. It can no longer be seen as a fringe part of our economy but rather as a sector creating real impact both socially and economically.

“Social enterprises are showing us what the future of business can look like." Liz, and the other winners, were presented with bespoke trophies made by the social enterprise, Designs in Mind, which employs people with mental health issues.