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British entrepreneurs give back as social causes motivate UK business ventures

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Bill Gates is often hailed as one of the most generous entrepreneurs in the world and campaign in January saw the Microsoft founder encourage business builders to create enterprises from poo.

No, his estimated $81.1bn wealth hasn’t driven him insane – Gates was promoting the launch of a new system designed to treat waste and purify it into drinking water.

Elsewhere, it was revealed in the summer that more than 50 tech and digital entrepreneurs from UK firms are supporting social good through the Founders Pledge. The commitment sees them donate at least two per cent of their salaries, which has generated more than £18.5m.

David Goldberg, director of Founders Forum for Good, said: “Social responsibility is growing in importance to society today. This reality is regularly backed-up in consumer and business surveys alike and to my mind there has never been a stronger case for helping to facilitate like-minded people with a way to leverage their success for a greater good.”

As such, the National Enterprise Network and social entrepreneur body UnLtd have discovered that 27 per cent of people looking to develop a business are doing so because they have social or community purposes in mind.

It reveals that Brits are motivated by social objectives and calls out for enterprise support groups to ensure they have the right guidance in place for entrepreneurs of that ilk, such as access to social finance and sourcing volunteers.

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Indeed, the report found that nine per cent of people looking for help aren’t able to secure the required information and aid to develop social goals in the business plan.

“There’s a swell of people stepping up to tackle some of society’s greatest problems with entrepreneurial solutions – but they need the right support to start well and thrive,” said Cliff Prior, CEO of UnLtd.

“We want enterprise organisations to ensure social entrepreneurs get off to the best start, and this research shows that even more can be done to ensure that potential social entrepreneurs can access the support they need.”

The government should ensure conscientious entrepreneurs are sent in the right direction, according to UnLtd, especially given the Conservatives pledge to “give more people the power and support” for social enterprise development.

Anna Soubry, small business minister, was in agreement with the findings and said she’s pleased to see social is becoming central to the way people approach business.

Dawn Whiteley, CEO of the National Enterprise Network, added: “Our membership has had the view for some time that there is a growing number of those they are helping to start a business who are motivated by much more than just profit.

“We now want to work with government and others to ensure those entrepreneurs, as well as any others, get all the help and support they need to give them the very best chance of creating businesses which flourish for the longer term.”

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