Jane Pritchard, Enterprise Director, reflects on the Shortlist, Highly Commended and Winning entries to the 2014 Santander Responsible Small Business of the Year Award.
The challenge for all smaller businesses, wherever they are on their responsible business journey, comes of course from maintaining their principles as the business grows. Framing a growing business around sustainability involves thinking not only about the product but also about how sustainability is applied throughout the business, i.e. how the product is made, the supply chain, relationships with the local community and how the business treats its employees.
The Santander Responsible Small Business of the Year Award identifies those companies that have responsible business at the heart of what they do, demonstrating that social impact and business growth can be mutually beneficial and not necessarily the exclusive domain of larger companies.
Six businesses were shortlisted for the winning accolade this year. They included Handmade Alliance which works in prisons designing and creating household textiles to employ prisoners; Ipswich Building Society which embeds the true values of local banking and brings it to life across the whole business; LSI Architects with its impressive pro-bono programme in the local community; and Betty & Taylors which has taken on an international market place and supply chain issue and transformed the standards and expectations across its industry sector.
Moat Homes was Highly Commended for clearly integrating responsible business practices and social value throughout the entire business and through the changes it has made – generating an extra £1m rental income, saving £2m in costs, and supporting 104 people into work.
And finally the winning business, crowned Responsible Small Business of the Year was Novus Property Solutions. Novus has a clear, serious commitment to act responsibly throughout its business activities, covering marketplace, environment, community and workplace. What is particularly impressive is the strength of its business model and its success during a time of recession. Novus reported a 73% turnover increase between 2010 and 2013, and a 168% increase of employees. A worthy winner, clearly demonstrating that behaving responsibly is good business in all senses of the word.
These companies are from a wide range of sectors and take a wide range of approaches. Each and every story is an inspiring example of what businesses like yours could be doing to embed responsible practice into the core of your business – whatever your size.