An Oldham-based social enterprise has been selected for the NatWest SE100 Index, the annual listing of the UK’s top 100 social enterprises.
This achievement for Upturn – which launched in 2004 operates from Peter Street in the town – is the equivalent of the Sunday Times Top 100 Companies for social enterprises and a massive achievement for the organisation.
Upturn’s core mission has always been to unlock the potential and improve the lives and health and wellbeing of people from diverse groups and disadvantaged communities across Oldham and the wider region.
Upturn is split into three core areas: Upturn People, which aims to unlock talent and aspirations, Upturn Communities, which enables communities to prosper and safe spaces to be created, and Upturn Enterprise, which helps entrepreneurs through the key stages to start their own business as well as working with established companies to strengthen local community ties.
The top 100 social enterprises were selected for the SE100 Index by judges on a range of criteria including business sustainability, innovation and social impact.
Together they tell a convincing story of growth and optimism in the sector, posting a combined total turnover of more than a third of a billion pounds (£388m), up from £335m the year before.
The group made a combined profit of nearly £15.5m – significantly higher than the year before, during the height of the Covid pandemic.
And the average growth in annual turnover for the top 100 was 84% – suggesting that the UK’s top social businesses are bouncing back strongly from one of the most challenging periods in recent times.
Anwar Ali, CEO of Upturn, said: “Being listed on the SE100 Index is brilliant recognition for everything we’re trying to achieve as a social enterprise, especially as the list covers the whole of the UK and not just our local area.
“The full list includes makers of underwear, tea, jewellery and upcycled furniture, as well as providers of diverse services, such as dental care and music therapy. We’re incredibly proud to be listed on there as a social enterprise designed to unlock the potential and improve the lives of people from diverse groups and disadvantaged communities.
“Like everyone else, our jobs were made harder by the pandemic, but we’ve always remained steadfast and true to our core mission. Nothing will stop us reaching those who need us the most in our community.”
Tim West, founding editor of Pioneers Post, who created the SE100 in partnership with NatWest more than a decade ago, added: “With average growth of 84% among our top 100 – and 88% of SE100 applicants reporting that they are making a more positive impact since the Covid crisis – the indications are that the UK’s social enterprises are on the way up after experiencing some very challenging times.
“In times of uncertainty, including more economic discomfort ahead, it would be understandable – perhaps sensible too – for any organisation to focus on their core business aims.
“But social entrepreneurs are a stubborn breed: not only do they want to do better in terms of their profitability and impact, they also want to be better in terms of the way they operate and the values that they stand for.”