Co-wheels, a Community Interest Company (CIC) Head Quartered in Durham that runs a public access car club has been recognised as a leading social enterprise, shortlisted in the 2014 RBS SE100 awards.
The RBS SE100 Index is an online listing of social ventures, ranked and scored according to their growth and social impact. Each year The RBS SE100 Awards recognise social enterprises on the Index who have demonstrated some of the best business practice within the sector, celebrating the growth, impact and ambition of social enterprises in the UK.
The Growth Champion Award is given to a social business on the Index who has experienced positive, financial growth from one year to the next, the panel also look for a winner with a sustainable business model. Co-wheels has a growth percentage of 74.1% for the 2012-2013 financial year, and are ranked 12 out of 109 organisations in their turnover category of £1-5 million.
Co-wheels car club works for the benefit of communities in localities across the UK by providing an affordable alternative to car ownership. With its roots and headquarters based in Durham, Co-wheels aims for social justice, seeking to grow car clubs in all areas, not just those that are lucrative for the company, and enabling increased access to work and leisure opportunities for those who suffer from transport poverty.
The Growth Champion award is just as much about social impact as it is about expansion and success. Co-wheels has a social impact score of 7/10, putting the organisation in the top 29% of enterprises in this years RBS SE100 index for measuring and demonstrating social impact.
In the last year, Co-wheels has expanded to deliver car clubs in over 45 locations across the UK.
Richard Falconer, Director of Co-wheels said of its growth and impact: “We’ve recently expanded our operation significantly to become one of the fastest growing businesses in the social enterprise sector. This success has created investment opportunities for growth and diversifying our range of operations, from city centres to villages. Some of our car clubs are used by local authorities and universities as pool cars for staff, whilst others focus entirely on being shared cars for local residents. We now also encourage local ownership of our operations which are sometimes run as community car clubs or as one of our social franchises.
“Co-wheels also has a measured environmental impact: transport related carbon emissions and air pollutants are reduced by the provision of low-emission, hybrid and electric vehicles, and individuals and organisations are encouraged to lower their own impact by choosing alternative transport options.”
Commenting on the award, Richard said:
We’re really excited to be shortlisted for the Growth award and remain enthusiastic about our future as an organisation. In spite of our recent successes there is always room to grow and we hope to expand our services to even more communities around the UK. The SE100 Index has been a valuable tool for us over the year, and we look forward to tracking our continued growth in the social enterprise space.
Duncan Sloan, RBS Head of Community Banking, said: “ RBS has been supporting businesses set up to solve social problems for many years. The social enterprise sector is a valuable part of the UK economy and it is our aim to support its development. The RBS SE100 Index and the trailblazing newcomer award allow us to recognise the successes of new ventures. Sometimes social enterprises need funding to get off the ground, other times they need access to the right networks to ensure they can evolve. The RBS SE100 index provides just that, and is a key initiative in our commitment to the success of the social enterprise sector.”
The 2014 winners will share a £30, 000 prize fund that will be awarded at the RBS SE100 Annual Awards on the 24th November 2014, at the Good Deals social investment conference in London. The shortlist is divided into five categories: Sustainable Growth, Social Impact, Trailblazing Newcomer and the Resilience and Storyteller award.
Find out more: www.co-wheels.org.uk