The founder of ethical underwear brand Who Made Your Pants? has scooped a prestigious entrepreneurial award, beating five finalists from other sectors.
Becky John was crowned the winner of the Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2014 at a ceremony last week, picking up a prize of £10,000 to help grow her business.
She was named the winner of a public vote from a shortlist of finalists, who came from a range of entrepreneurial backgrounds – from a specialist online job board run by disabled people for disable people, to an enterprise delivering sport and health programmes within schools.
All five finalists are about to graduate from the 2013/14 cohort of the Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneurs Programme, which is run in partnership with the School for Social Entrepreneurs with support from the Big Lottery Fund.
Founded in 2008, Who Made Your Pants? has delivered employability training to more than 65 women from its factory in Southampton and has a waiting list of a further 75 women who want work.
The socially-conscious business teaches these women the skill required to make quality, saleable products, which retail predominantly through the business’ dedicated website.
John plans to use the £10,000 Social Entrepreneur of the Year award to increase the employment hours of her office manager and production supervisor; which will, in turn, allow her to increase production, sales and create further employment opportunities within the company.
On winning the award she said: "I am thrilled to win the Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award. It is a truly fantastic achievement.
“Being part of the School for Social Entrepreneurs programme has helped me focus on developing Who Made Your Pants?.
"I am incredibly fortunate to have learned from the fantastic team at SSE and working with other social entrepreneurs and my tutor has been amazing.”