Last month Divine Chocolate - the fairtrade confectionary company based in Gainsford Street - was named as Social Enterprise of the Year at the UK Social Enterprise Awards 2014.
The national competition, now in its 16th year, recognises the work and achievements of Britain's most inspiring and successful social enterprises. There are 70,000 social enterprises in the UK.
Divine's business model is unique in the chocolate market and perhaps beyond, with the Ghanaian cocoa farmers who supply its Fairtrade cocoa also owning 45% of the company, placing them much higher up the value chain.
Divine Chocolate has grown in a highly competitive market and is now sold nationwide across the UK, as well as in Scandinavia, the Netherlands, South Korea, Japan and Australia. Divine also has a sister company in USA which sells across the States and in Canada.
Managing director Sophi Tranchell said: "There is a real appetite growing for businesses that are powered by their principles – both to buy from, and to work for.
"The Social Enterprise Award winners are proof of the diverse markets where social enterprises are now competing successfully with 'business as usual'"
The annual awards are organised by Social Enterprise UK, the national body for social enterprises, businesses that reinvest their profits for good, benefitting people and planet.
Peter Holbrook, Chief Executive of Social Enterprise UK, said: "We congratulate Divine for their success. They're making a huge difference to the lives of producers in developing countries, while operating in a fiercely competitive industry.
"The awards are a celebration of Britain's very best social enterprises – businesses that are making a positive difference here in the UK and abroad. Competition was tougher than ever this year, with a record number of entries. The winners wholly deserve to be recognised for their achievement, and for their tireless work using business for the good of people and planet."
The awards ceremony was hosted by Sue Perkins and catering was supplied by the Brigade Bar & Bistro in Tooley Street.