Business in the Community’s Responsible Small Business of the Year is awarded at BITC’s Awards for Excellence.

The Awards for Excellence showcase the best of responsible business in action. They are the UK’s most influential, independent, peer assessed corporate responsibility awards.

Winner: Cleone Food

Cleone Foods is a small food manufacturer at the heart of one of the country’s most deprived neighbourhoods in Birmingham.

The business combines a traditional Caribbean business ethos with a modern responsible business approach. Literacy, numeracy and IT training is provided for each staff member and it supports its workers with interest fee loans and flexible working patterns for parents.

As a result, Cleone maintains an impressive 97% retention rate amongst its locally employed workforce.


Social and Environmental benefits

  • Cleone Foods sorts all waste and 99.38% of it is recycled.
  • Cleone Foods provides an average of 6 work placements per year and around 20 factory open days for years 10 and 11 students providing them with an insight into work
  • Cleone Foods’ packaging features 80% recycled board resulting in an 8% reduction in net case weight, removing at least 2.3 tonnes of corrugated board per year from the distribution chain in the first year 
  • Wade Lyn, the Managing Director, is a founder member of the 12/8 Network which seeks to accelerate the growth of a competitive and successful African-Caribbean business community.

Business benefits

  • Employee training, development and appraisal systems have been continuing to contribute to staff retention and business development, with a long-term retention rate of around 95%.
  • Wade Lyn has been recognised on several platforms for his commitment to responsible business, including being nominated to be BITC Prince Charles’ Ambassador for the West Midlands. This high-profile involvement has not only improved the company’s reputation but also attracted new customers and markets resulting in a 7% increase in sales.
  • Cleone Foods plays an active part in the Birmingham City Council led “Jamaica Birmingham” consultative committee. Participation has consolidated the company’s reputation as a community champion, and identified direct business opportunities.

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