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Fairtrade chocolate firm is Britain’s best social enterprise

London SE1 website team

Divine Chocolate, based in SE1's Gainsford Street, has been named Best Social Enterprise at the Enterprising Solutions Awards announced last month.

The Best Social Enterprise Award, and a cash prize of £10,000, went to Divine Chocolate, a fairtrade chocolate company co-owned by Ghanaian cocoa farmers.

The Ghanaian Kuapa Kokoo cooperative not only receive a fair price for their cocoa but also a share of the profits. The Divine bar, and its junior spin-off Dubble are now sold in Tesco, Waitrose, Sainsburys, Asda, the Co-op and Wholefoods. The company also supplies all own-label chocolate for Starbucks, has just launched an American affiliate and expects sales for 2007 to hit £10.5 million.

Accepting the award at a ceremony held last month at the Victoria & Albert Museum, Divine managing director Sophi Tranchell said: "We are delighted to be here and it is fantastic to win. As a judge on earlier panels for the Enterprising Solutions Award I learned a lot about how to run a successful business with a social purpose. So it is wonderful to now join the ranks of previous social enterprises who have won this award.

"I would like to thank my parents who taught me that if you think something is wrong you can and should do something about it. And it is the people who eat Divine chocolate and who tell their local supermarket to stock it that really make a difference to the cocoa farmers lives, so if you are one of those people (and you jolly well ought to be!) then thank you too."

Chief executive of the SE1-based Social Enterprise Coalition Jonathan Bland added: "Divine Chocolate is a flagship social enterprise that is doing amazing work, not only by helping Ghanaian farmers get a fair price for their cocoa but also by paying the farmers dividends."

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