On February 16th, 2017, UtilDeco social enterprise, established within Close to You Foundation won first prize as “Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2016” within the only worldwide entrepreneurial competition, taking place in Romania as well, as of 2014.
The “Entrepreneur of the Year” programme, organised by Ernst&Young, was set up in 1986, in the USA and it expanded in over 60 countries and over 150 cities in an attempt to encourage entrepreneurship all over the world.
The awards ceremony took place in Bucharest, in a gala with a turnover of more than 150 people, all top Romanian entrepreneurs. The 2016 competition was attended by 60 companies, out of which 50 got to the final stage. The companies participating in the competition have a total income of 535 million EUR, 8.000 employees and an average number of 180 employees in 2015.
They competed for the following sections: EY Entrepreneur of the Year, Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year and Social Entrepreneur of the Year.
The winner of EY Entrepreneur of the Year will participate in the following stage, in the international competition, where it will be joined by the winners of the over 60 countries affiliated to the programme that will take place in Monte Carlo between 8-11 June 2017.
The entry, qualification and assessment methodology of the Romanian EY Entrepreneur of the Year competition is that applicable at global level in the countries participating in this programme.
„We are very happy that this prize is going to Iasi and that it adds value to the social entrepreneurship of our foundation. It is the best example that social enterprises are investors in the community, creating jobs, paying taxes, making profit, but the most important thing that they are socially profitable for the community! It is a challenge to maintain the balance between the social and the business part of the foundation’s activity, but also an opportunity to generate incomes and be financially independent in ensuring the sustainability of the assumed social mission! said Angela Achitei, president of Close to You Foundation.
UtilDeco is the largest Romanian social enterprise certified as protected establishment as well, in which 40% of the employees are disabled people. Among the services provided, we mention the storage and archiving of documents, printing, customization and tailoring services (specialised in the production of work and protection equipment), Corporate Tourism through UtilDeco Travel (WISE) agency and over 20.000 other products and services through our Charity Cash&Carry online store.
UtilDeco’s portfolio consists of more than 1.600 companies, with a turnover of 4.8 million euro in 2016, with 65 employees and reinvesting its entire profits in social services, such as the Youth Club, JobDirect and the continuity of jobs in UtilDeco’s workshops for disabled people.