Gentoo Group wins top prize at awards

An awards ceremony to celebrate innovative firms transforming communities has honoured Gentoo Group with a top prize

Actors Joanna Lumley and James Corden help Gentoo celebrate their win
Actors Joanna Lumley and James Corden help Gentoo celebrate their win

Gentoo Group has won top prize in the education category at Business in the Community’s 2013 Responsible Business Awards.

A gala dinner on Tuesday at The Royal Albert Hall marked the culmination of the 2013 awards, which celebrate the powerful and positive role of business in society.

The awards celebrate innovative firms transforming communities by tackling social and environment issues, and transforming the businesses themselves by building in responsible behaviour.

Gentoo’s award-winning initiative Academy 360 was set up for pupils aged four to16, to raise educational standards and stimulate the housing market.

In 2012, 93% of students gained five or more GCSEs – four times the best previous result. Forty per cent earned five or more GCSEs that included English and maths – twice as many as before.

Business in the Community also runs the Local Impact Awards, to celebrate firms and individuals creating an impact in their community with work such as volunteering and inspiring young people with work placements. As well as winning the Regional Education Award, Gentoo gained the Work Inspiration Award for its work experience programme.

The awards event was co-hosted by Joanna Lumley and Bafta- winning actor James Corden, with entertainment by Emerald Music School Choir of South East London. The night was supported by the 2012 Responsible Business of the Year, Marks & Spencer.

Chief executive of Gentoo Group, Peter Walls, said: “We were up against a stellar list of companies for the Education Award, which makes it even more special. As well as our work with Academy 360, we have provided over 100 work experience placements and created 48 supported apprentice- ships and five high quality intern- ships for young people in our city.”

Business in the Community chief Stephen Howard said winners shared an understanding of the importance of responsible leader- ship, willingness boldly to re-imagine business practice and commitment to driving solutions to some of society’s pressing issues.

“Gentoo should be proud of winning the Education Award and demonstrating that business truly can be a force for good.”

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