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Why should the social impact of their business be important to entrepreneurs?

We spoke to some of the entrepreneurs who were recognised in the UK’s first Social Entrepreneur Index (sponsored by UBS) and asked them to share their advice to encourage more entrepreneurs to consider the social impact of their business.

The UK Social Entrepreneur Index (sponsored by UBS) is a celebration of entrepreneurs running businesses with social purposes, with the aim of providing recognition whilst also acting as a benchmark for good practice to inspire the next generation.

The Index delivers inspiring content through a digital campaign and a series of events and debates across the UK by shining the spotlight on the UK's most purpose-driven entrepreneurs and their businesses.

Below, some of the entrepreneurs in the Index share their social impact advice for entrepreneurs and businesses.

"It is so much more fulfilling knowing that all the efforts of the organisation are going towards helping improve lives and not just the financial bottom line. By embedding social impact into the running of our business, we have succeeded in bringing together an excellent and experienced board and senior management team who are dedicated to our social impact goals. Our staff team is motivated by our mission and we have been able to achieve commercial success because of the outcomes of our work. I would strongly encourage anyone running a business to embed social impact into their organisation on both a personal and business level it has made a real difference."

"The social and environmental impact is so important to every business now that if you don't consider these aspects, you are likely to find it difficult to progress forward. These aspects are so serious in today's world and are what need to be addressed. People want to hear what you're doing to be socially positive so by considering this, you will also help your business grow. It will also make you feel better about what you do, and this will show in your work ethic and business results. Try and think outside the box and do something different to help your social impact - this will create a new sidekick to the business, creating interest and a feel-good factor!"

"All businesses have an impact on the communities around them. Making sure that's a positive impact is the right thing to do morally, but also makes good business sense. Growing your social impact, as an integral part of your operations rather than just as a separate community social responsibility strategy, is increasingly expected by staff and customers. And if you can get it right it can lead to a much more sustainable and successful business model."

"Our companies, as well as everything we do, don’t operate in isolation but they are interconnected with the rest of the world and therefore they have an impact on our employees, consumers, communities and the environment. You can control whether this impact is positive or not. We have seen evidence that businesses who operate with their social impact as a compass perform better over the long term, are more stable during periods of crisis and have a strong loyalty from their employees and customers. The world is changing towards this direction so the only question is, are you going to be part of the future or you will be a great example of the past."

"If you’re looking for a real challenge in setting up a business, then running it as a ‘social enterprise’ is the ultimate challenge as it forces you to think of the social impact of every business decision you make. Running a social enterprise is like running two businesses in one – in our case, one is providing job opportunities to refugees, training them, supporting them with English classes and helping them integrate. The second is the actual tea-business, which is huge as it involves the sourcing, manufacturing, production and selling of the goods. I challenge all up-and-coming entrepreneurs to run their businesses as a social enterprise and prove to the world that we can do ‘well’ whilst doing ‘good’."

"Running a business with a social purpose will increase you and your team's motivation and focuses your strategy and values - doing good has to be central and integral to the mission of any organisation in the 21st century."

"Perhaps more than any other generation, the current generation of children and young adults are aware of their roles as global citizens. These are the people who will be the future business leaders, both nationally and internationally. Business leadership is often at the heart of innovation and a nation’s productivity. By taking the very best of business and applying it to social entrepreneurship, we can focus on the 3 Ps of sustainability. - People: we take the position that our social impact as a business can be multiplied and sustained by enabling and developing people within and beyond their roles.- Planet: we use our finite resource base in a sustainable way.- Profit: we have developed a model that is financially sustainable in the long-term."

"The most successful businesses in the world are driven by their values, not their profits.  Redefine how you measure success."

Related campaign: 

The UK Social Entrepreneur Index, sponsored by UBS, is a celebration of social entrepreneurship across the UK. 

Open to social entrepreneurs tackling a social or environmental issue at any scale, entrants will act as beacons of inspiration for others to encompass positive social impact.

For more info visit www.socialentsindex.co.uk

Abi Bentley-Cottam
Article by Abi Bentley-Cottam
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