Two Lincolnshire business leaders are celebrating after being named among the most inspiring and influential women in social enterprise in the UK.
The inaugural Woman in Social Enterprise 100 (WISE 100) by the Natwest SE100 Index was announced on International Women’s Day, Thursday, October 12.
A celebratory event recognising the 100 most inspiring women in social enterprise, impact investment and social innovation was hosted by RBS in London.
Lincoln-based Lizzie Jordan founded Think2Speak in 2015, offering courses in training and literature that inspired confident communication skills in young people.
Lizzie has made headlines for her candid account of life as a mother, widow and HIV sufferer after she was diagnosed 11 years ago. She has spoken out about the demise of support services for both her son and professionals involved in his life.
She has been internationally acclaimed for her HIV awareness work and she passionately advocates for conversation as prevention. Lizzie founded the social enterprise Think2Speak in 2015 to enable conversations, through training, advocacy, support and therapy services.
“We’ve already helped to change the lives of many children and young people. But there’s still more work to be done,” she said.
Elaine Lilley, Chief Executive of The EBP, was also placed in the WISE100.
Elaine was instrumental in establishing The EBP in 2001 and as its Chief Executive she has led the organisation through a period of phenomenal growth.
The EBP now employs more than 60 people from Welton House in Lincoln and its regional offices in Melton Mowbray and Northampton.
As a social enterprise supporting thousands of young people every year, Elaine is incredibly proud of the difference that one organisation can make and is passionate about providing young people with opportunities to develop the skills that employers are looking for.
The EBP has delivered National Citizen Service (NCS) since 2011 and under its management last year almost 5,000 teenagers took part in the programme across Lincolnshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland.
Of her nomination, Elaine said: “This is a fantastic recognition of everyone’s efforts at The EBP. It was a real honour to attend the event at NatWest’s headquarters and to be named alongside so many amazing women who do incredible work at social enterprises throughout the country.”
In the UK, 40% of social enterprises are led by women, in comparison with just 6% of the companies on the FTSE100.
The social sector outperforms other sectors when it comes to gender equality and as such is uniquely positioned to drive forwards a campaign for gender equality that speaks both to social enterprise and corporate bodies.