tanghall-social media badge - social entrepreneur of the year sue (1)

Social Enterprise Yorkshire Awards – York-based social entrepreneur, Sue Williamson shortlisted

It was a shock to Sue Williamson, CEO of Tang Hall SMART CIC, when she found out she had been shortlisted for the award of Yorkshire’s Social Entrepreneur of the Year, because she hadn’t actually submitted an application.

“Some of the Directors and staff at Tang Hall SMART, notably Carmel Appleton the Chair of the Board, and also Tony Gavin the Head of Trustees at Tang Hall Employment, got together behind my back and applied on my behalf. When they found out I had been shortlisted, they decided Carmel was best placed to let me know as she was the other side of the world at the time; they must have known this was something I would not have done myself. However, I have had time to process the news now and I can see it is a good thing, because anything that raises the profile of Social Enterprise is brilliant, and it is humbling to know that the staff and directors at Tang Hall SMART feel I am worthy of this.”

Social Enterprises are a fast-growing part of the national economy. “They are businesses which trade for a social or environmental purpose. There are more than 131,000 social enterprises in the UK, with a collective turnover of £78 billion  and employing around 2.3 million people. Social enterprises demonstrate a better way to do business, one that prioritises benefit to people and planet and uses the majority of any profit to further their mission. Social enterprises contribute to reducing economic inequality, improving social justice and to environmental sustainability.”

All about Social Enterprise

Sue explained that Tang Hall SMART is run on entrepreneurial lines, with the same focus on sustainability and creative business growth as any other business, but with goals firmly focussed on social impact. “It is important to look beyond your own immediate existence as a company when you are a social enterprise, as collaborative models and solutions that benefit wider society are as important as immediate gains. Currently I am working on two city-wide initiatives, one is the York Homelessness Partnership, and the other is establishing York as a ‘Social Enterprise Place’, and with both of these, there is a clear pathway through to the possibility of having a national impact. But the majority of my focus is still our core delivery, providing education and training programmes in music and the arts for people disadvantaged by birth or circumstances.”

The SEYH Awards will be presented at a glittering event at York’s Hospitium on the 7th March, and in addition to Sue’s shortlisting, there is another local company, SPARK CIC, nominated in the category of best social enterprise.


To find out more about Tang Hall SMART – check out their website: