THE BRITISH LIBRARY

Innovation and enterprise blog

22 October 2019

Start-up Day 2019 wrap up - How to combine profit with purpose

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Today more and more businesses have steered away from the money-hungry corporate businesses, we saw dominating industry not that long ago. It is now more important than ever for your business to be seen to be having an impact, or to be led by core values that move beyond making money. We spoke to three businesses with very different aims and structures trying to exact change as social enterprises.

The panel from Profit with Purpose on the stage at Start-up Day

Our panellists, Fran Hodgson from GoodBox, Alex Stephany from BEAM and Meg Doherty from Fat Macy’s spoke to Lee Mannion from Expert Impact about how their businesses maximise the positive difference in the world.

Our key takeaways from the panel were that when you develop a product, you have to have the specific charitable industry in mind. As Alex from BEAM explained, that means that when you create an interface, or a user journey, it has to be efficient and simple, but also be able to tangibly show the user the difference that they are making. GoodBox focused on the idea leverage technology in order to allow storytelling as the key element that makes her product unique for the charitable industry, but also a level of customer service that the big banks can’t offer.

Interestingly, all of the panel said that they didn’t know much about the area into which they were stepping or the problems that they have ended up working on – but Meg from Fat Macy’s says that coming at the issue of homelessness hostels with new eyes revealed great flaws with the system through her naïvety but also allowed her to see innovative sustainable ways of helping the residents through grants and training.

Lee said that he hoped one day all businesses would have some sort of social mission – it’s clear that that responsibility does not fall solely with purely social enterprises any more.  

To watch the panel in full, click below: