All businesses will be social enterprises

NB: The following is from an article that first appeared in the Guardian on 27 Nov 2012 and it can be found here

All businesses will be social enterprises says Institute of Directors leader

As funding, and money from government is cut, business must be part of the solution, says Alex Mitchell
Social enterprise has a key role to play in building a new economy at home and abroad, says Alex Mitchell of the Institute of Directors.

Alex Mitchell, head of influencer relations at the Institute of Directors, has said that all businesses will have to become social enterprises.

Mitchell, who also co-founded a charity for disabled athletes called Kit Us Out, said: “I think all businesses, large or small are going to have to become social enterprises in one shape or form. As funding and money from government continues to be cut, business is going to have to step up to the mantle and be part of the solution. To help get young people into work, for example.”

Mitchell was speaking on the panel at UnLtd’s Global Entrepreneurship Week at the British Library, which explored the future of support for social entrepreneurs and how that support could help mainstream start-ups.

He also talked about the role of business in building a new economy in the UK and abroad, referencing Greece in particular.

In response to a question from the audience on challenging capitalism, he said that “every system should be challenged; it’s up to everyone here and outside to ensure businesses are being challenged to play an active role in society”.

Later, in response to a question about how the social enterprise movement could be speeded up, he challenged the audience on which businesses they’re helping grow as part of their everyday life.

He asked: “How many people here go to Starbucks, even though they’ve been pulled apart in the last few weeks because they possibly aren’t paying the full level of tax? We have to own up: we need to decide where we’re putting our resources – I mean our own individual cash.”

Mitchell called for social enterprises to make sure they utilise the skills and support of experts to ensure the survival of their businesses. “The reason 50% of businesses fail in first two years is not because they’re not good businesses. To create success, you’ve got to surround yourself with people who are better than you.”

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