Established in 1989, The Growth Company is an economic development agency which enables growth, creates jobs, and improves lives.
We are an and are leading provider of education, skills, employment, youth and offender rehabilitation support. We also provide business support and finance services designed to drive productivity, improve innovation and create high quality and inclusive jobs. We work with public, private and third sector partners, delivering economic development projects that achieve growth outcomes across a range of specialisms.
When did your business become a social enterprise and why?
The Growth Company has always identified as a social enterprise. This ties in with our mission to enable growth, create jobs and improve lives. As a commercially driven not-for-profit, any surplus we make is reinvested into our services, supporting growth that has real impact.
What social needs are you trying to address and what types of social outcome are you striving to deliver?
Our core objective is sustainable economic growth, therefore a key focus in our multifaceted work is to support and provide opportunities for individuals, communities and businesses to thrive. This is through advisory business support services, employment and skills platforms and our commercial services offering.
We aim to drive growth that is equitable by ensuring our services meet the diverse needs of the areas in which we work and have core functions/groups within our organisations, such as our EDI Steering Group and sub-networks to drive this agenda both internally and externally.
What is your main reason for having our accreditation? What were your expectations?
We wanted to stand out and really cement our reputation and credibility as a social enterprise and show that we put the interests of people and planet above stakeholder gain. Going through the Social Enterprise Mark, and subsequently, the Social Enterprise Gold Mark assessment process, was seen as the best and most value adding way to help us achieve this.
What does accreditation mean to you? What does it say about your business?
We are immensely proud that we can objectively demonstrate best practice across several key business areas that are central to social enterprise excellence, including governance, stakeholder engagement, business ethics, financial transparency and social impact.
This shows The Growth Company is driven by its values, and continues to make a positive difference to the people we work with and the world we live in.
What benefits has there been as a result of being accredited? E.g. did you find the assessment process useful? Do you feel the accreditation give you more credibility as a social enterprise?
Absolutely, being accredited has really helped to give us creditability as a genuine social enterprise and proves our credentials as an organisation which is committed to creating social value for people and the planet.
We found the assessment process extremely useful and value adding. It made us take a step back as a business and reflect on the work we are doing to support our customers and wider stakeholders and made us realise just what a positive difference we make. All the team at Social Enterprise Mark CIC were very helpful and extremely knowledgeable. Our Assessment Manager supported us throughout the process and was always on hand to provide guidance during the assessment process, whilst remaining objective and impartial. His knowledge was exceptional.
Are there any specific achievements/accomplishments that are linked to holding the accreditation?
As above, being accredited has really help to give us creditably as a genuine social enterprise and proves our credentials as an organisation which is committed to creating social value for people and the planet.
We feel we will be better placed to answer this question in more detail when we have held the accreditation for a longer period of time.
What would you say to another social enterprise considering accreditation?
The progress that the Growth Company has made in our journey to gaining accreditation is significant and due to the robust nature of the assessment, we felt it helped to put a mirror in front of our organisation and highlight how well we have developed as a social enterprise in challenging times but also how we can continue to improve our practices to meet the needs of both colleagues, customers and future talent.
The process is detailed and the feedback is honest and challenging which is exactly what we were looking for.
Any other comments?
What worked well for our organisation was to have continued catch up meetings with the Social Enterprise Mark CIC team to update and ensure we were on track. I would also advise keeping contact to one or two members of your organisations who can manage the process centrally. We are a large social enterprise with over 1,500 members of staff, so internally there is a lot of coordination of obtaining information and arranging interview assessments, but throughout we found the Social Enterprise Mark CIC team very supportive and they offered guidance and appropriate timelines that could ensure we were progressing with our application in the best way possible.
If you would like to find out more about becoming an accredited social enterprise please complete our Eligibility Quiz to find out more.