Ambition beyond profit13 Jun 2013
Does your organisation look beyond the bottom line to its impact on society? Are you seeing a return on investment in ‘human capital’?
Year on year we’re seeing more examples of firms bringing their values to life by investing in a variety of community-related initiatives. Importantly, they are also demonstrating the commercial value this activity brings to different aspects of the organisation.
To highlight the best examples of this, we launched The Corporate Citizenship Award in 2013. The shortlist for this inaugural award will not only set the standard on social and commercial impact but also demonstrate the different ways it can be achieved – whether it’s through pro-bono work or partnership with a charity or social enterprise. Two of the judges for this award will be sharing insights on this, and what they will be looking for from this year’s finalists, at a special session as part of the Business4Better UK event on 9th July.
To recognise a new not-for-profit model of business, and one that is engaging a more philanthropic style of entrepreneur, we also launched The Social Enterprise of the Year award this year. Some exemplary social enterprises have sought recognition from the National Business Awards for their success in recent years – not only demonstrating impact on society but a sustainable model for continued impact.
Our Transformational Change of the Year award was won in 2011 and 2012 by charities that had successfully transformed into social enterprises, highlighting a revolutionary trend in the third sector. Recent data from The National Council for Voluntary Organisations' (NCVO) found that more than half of the voluntary sector’s income (£21.4bn) is now earned through selling goods and services and delivering public contracts.
Commenting on these findings in the Pioneer’s Post recently, Peter Holbrook, CEO of Social Enterprise UK (and a judge on this year’s Social Enterprise award panel), said “it throws into question whether the voluntary sector should describe itself very differently, in a way that actually reflects its changing makeup and the fact that so many charities and other voluntary sector organisations are viable businesses, and contributing greatly to jobs and economic growth”.
He also highlights London Early Years Foundation (last year’s Transformational Change winner) as a great example of turning a vulnerable, grant-dependent charity into a sustainable business. A registered charity since 1903, LEYF employs over 350 staff across 24 communities in six key London boroughs and works with over 1,800 children a year to develop a passion for learning, regardless of their background. Under the leadership of its dynamic CEO, June O’Sullivan, it transformed its structure and identity to become a childcare social enterprise with charitable status.
Commenting on its National Business Award win last year, June said: “Ensuring we had a sustainable model to allow us to support London’s children for decades to come was our top priority and has meant a substantial transformation.”
This long term vision, of sustainable growth and impact, is what sets award-winning organisations of all types and sizes apart. While it will be demonstrated in a variety of ways through the Corporate Citizenship Award, Social Enterprise of the Year and the ICAEW Sustainable Business Award, this ethos also applies to our other awards - from Growth Business of the Year to FTSE 100 Business of the Year.
Shortlisting has begun for the National Business Awards 2013, with finalists due to be announced on 16th July. Visit www.nationalbusinessawards.co.uk for information about last year’s winners and finalists. To find out more about the Ceremony, and how to reserve a table, call the NBA Award Team on 0207 234 8755.