Business should be a force for good. This is the way we have always worked within the Virgin Group. While it’s a viewpoint we’ve valued for more than 40 years, it’s never rang more true than right now. We live in an age where we face many challenges. From climate change to poverty, species extinction to inequality and unhappiness at work, we’re currently fighting many battles. No business should operate in today's world without taking these challenges into consideration. An entrepreneur or leader who ignores these pressing problems is making a bad management decision. Businesses need to put purpose at the core of their organisations and operations.
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Ten years ago we set up our non-profit foundation Virgin Unite to unite people and entrepreneurial ideas to create opportunities for a better world. Over the past decade the foundation has encouraged and incubated so many wonderful initiatives, from The Carbon War Room to the B Team, and shown the world time and time again just how much good business can do.
Wanting to further encourage this way of working, this year Virgin Group and Virgin Unite have joined forces with Virgin Media Business’s VOOM competition. To help celebrate entrepreneurs that focus on people and the planet as well as profit, VOOM has introduced the Impact Award. The Impact Award will see the competition expand from rewarding successful businesses, to also applauding businesses with great social or environmental impact – something we champion here at Virgin.
We’ve seen some brilliant impactful businesses enter VOOM in past years, so we’re looking forward to seeing more businesses to follow suit, by rewarding those that drive change and make a positive impact.
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Aduna’s healthy and beauty product and #MakeBaobabFamous campaign got the attention of the judges last year. We were impressed by their goal to provide a sustainable income to 10 million women in rural Africa, and mission to prove that trade is more effective than aid in relieving poverty.
JustPark won last year’s Grow Award not just because of their innovative online marketplace, but also their efforts to help drivers reduce the amounts of carbon their vehicles emit. While SafetyNet’s sustainable commercial fishing devices were the talk of the 2014 competition.
I’m excited to see what innovative impactful ideas and businesses enter VOOM 2016. And I’m looking forward to welcoming the winner of the Impact Award – alongside a group of inspiring change-makers – to Necker Island for next year’s Virgin Unite Leadership Gathering, Disrupting for Good.
In the early days of business there’s one thing that every entrepreneur should focus on: survival. One of the best ways to ensure that your start-up survives is to place purpose at the core of your business model. If you do, you, your business and the whole world all stand to gain.
For more information about #VOOM and to register for your opportunity to pitch to yours truly visit www.vmbvoom.com.
Or, learn more about the competition and the benefits of entering, by listening to VOOM Podcast from Virgin Media Business.