How social enterprises can lead us back to health and prosperity
COVID-19 is showing us that a health issue can not only devastate the lives of those directly in the path of the virus, but can also close shops and high streets, force hundreds of thousands of businesses to struggle and place millions on furlough or out of work. Never has the fundamental link between health and the economy been more clearly underlined.
There is a war of ideas coming. Already skirmishes are being seen and battle lines are being drawn.
Is it time to move on from trying to influence from the inside and fight harder from the outside (with all the risks that entails)?
WHAT is it to be ‘woke’ in business? Woke seems to be the new term for ‘political correctness’. Both have origins in things noble that have become distorted and are now somewhat pejorative phrases.
This week I was privileged to visit B-Inspired in Leicester. This was part of a learning camp supported by the community business funder Power to Change.
The willow bows low trailing its branches into the glittering water. Sunlight slides off a copper-green tower. Partially closed, ancient wooden slabs of doors refute access to the masses but the courtyards, cloisters, and colonnaded walkways beyond are glimpses of a different world. I’m in Oxford and the University and its constituent colleges are an ever-present reminder of knowledge, power, inequality/equality and wealth.
Whatever your politics and whether you feel optimistic or pessimistic about the political direction of the country: cheer yourself up with a social enterprise Christmas challenge.
The death of shareholder capitalism or empty words? Radical new world or smokescreen for business as usual?
“Corporate leaders scrap shareholder-first ideology.” I read the headline of this news article - announcing a significant change in the way American corporates plan to do business - with eye-widening astonishment. As I went through the story this feeling intensified to excitement, flipped to cynicism, scepticism and disbelief and then, at the end, resolved to a state of cautious optimism. I’m so reasonable/gullible/idealistic - delete as appropriate.
What’s the point of businesses? Maybe, job making? On the face of it, creating jobs – assuming half decent conditions and fair pay – is a good thing. How about ‘wealth’ creation? But, again, what is that for? A good life, wealth for oneself, one’s family and future generations maybe.
We’ve just got back from the Social Enterprise Mark conference in Birmingham. This annual event brings together people from all over the UK and beyond. The theme was Growth for Good and how certification and standards can help businesses grow, be accountable and transparent.