Ethical entrepreneurship ‘way forward’ for business

Leading entrepreneurs give their views on importance of social change through business

Social change cannot be left to governments but must me achieved through ethical entrepreneurship. That was the message put forward at London’s British Library last night.

Prominent ‘ethical entrepreneurs’, including founder of The Big Issue John Bird, and Richard Reed, the co-founder of healthy drinks company Innocent, gave their views on social enterprises at a panel discussion on the ‘rise and rise of good business’.

According to the 2006 GEM Social Entrepreneurship Monitor social enterprises make up around 5% of all businesses and constitute a total turnover of nearly £27bn.

“Social enterprise is a business response to a social crisis, and it should be the way that people now turn,” said John Bird.

“People are getting increasingly worn out by giving. If you do it through business, people invest in the social enterprise.

“The return you then get from that is a matter of shared equity, shared ownership and shared vision.”

Richard Reed argued that running an ethical business not only enables you to give something back to the community but also allows the company to retain the best staff.

“The best possible people that you can get to work for you are the ones that keep their personal values,” agued Reed.

“If you ask those people to leave their values at the door when they come to work, they won’t stay. To have people who are financially astute but also socially aware is a killer combination.”

© Crimson Business Ltd. 2007

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