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Your company and it’s social responsi


CREATIVITY, drive, fearlessness


and resilience are the hallmarks of a true entrepreneur, but in challenging economic times, could generosity be another?


Giving time, money or expertise to help community groups, charities, schools and other causes is collectively known as social responsibility and it is something that the small business sector


traditionally struggles to do.


The intention is there but not the time and money they believe they need to invest. The question is, can they afford not to?


Firms looking to attract new customers should know that nearly half of consumers (46%) are willing to pay extra for products and services from companies that show a commitment to social responsibility, according to Nielsen’s latest Global Corporate


30 entrepreneurcountry


Citizenship Survey. Also, those with plans to hire talent should take note; 75% of UK employees want their employer to balance commercial success with progressive social responsibility policies, according to a survey by staff engagement firm LeapCR.


Those short on ideas can take their cue from a new breed of entrepreneurs who recognise the importance of social engagement and have found ways of turning business into a force for good.


‘Screwing Business as Usual’ is how Virgin boss Richard Branson describes it. He says: “I truly believe that to be successful over the long term you have to look at how your business operates and its impact on your customers, staff, supply chain and the world at large. Could your business be better at creating goods or services that are


good for the planet? Could you source products and services locally? Analyse your supply chain. Do you have a skill or expertise that could benefit a community project, or provide a young person with the training or opportunity they need? Success in business is no longer just about the bottom line; we have to look beyond profit to measure our success.”


The cause is championed by his not- for-profit foundation Virgin Unite, which recently ran a competition to find the company with the most effective ‘Screw Business as Usual’ ethos. Entries ranged from the environmentally friendly Soccket, a soccer ball invented by four Harvard engineering graduates, that harnesses and stores the kinetic energy produced during a game of football, to the fundraising Raise5, which uses micro-donations of services, e.g., teaching a 15-minute


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