In Good Company… with the Social, Community and Enterprise Collaborative. As part of our ongoing series about good business, we’re catching up with businesses across the City Region and ask them the big question: what makes a ‘good’ business?
Both Kuumba Imani Millennium Centre and The Women’s Organisation are mainstays in the business support and development community across LCR. Now, they are collaborating on the Social, Community and Enterprise Collaborative – a unique initiative operating in Liverpool that will support and improve racial and gender parity in businesses, as the city emerges from the pandemic. It’s led by the Kuumba Imani Millennium Centre (KIMC), a community organisation which supports racial minorities through community and economic development and empowerment, partnership working, advocacy, research and campaigning to help them to reach their full potential. KIMC works to expose and tackle structural discrimination and exclusion of Black and racial minority communities.
The Collaborative is co-produced by The Women’s Organisation, a social enterprise which supports economic development, small business startup and growth, ensuring equality of opportunity for women in public, private and civic life.
“Every business has the power to make their own contribution by helping to tackle things locally that have a collective impact globally,” says Helen Millne, deputy CEO at The Women’s Org. “Good businesses locally can and will make strides to help address the grand challenges and pressing issues of climate change, income inequality, depletion of natural resources, human rights issues, fair working conditions, pollution, racial injustice and gender inequality.”
“A good business is one that is inclusive and that has equality, diversity, and sustainability at its core,” she adds. “It should be a resource to all its customers, employees, suppliers, and wider stakeholders. It should be a contributor to society not just in economic terms but also in terms of their social and environmental impact.”
Business must take greater responsibility for being part of the communities that they operate in, stresses Helen. “Good businesses consider the needs of society and factor this into their business benefits,” she says. “Good businesses share wealth through corporate social responsibility and giving back. They can help society to stay connected and capacity build communities – in turn this influences respect for business and business leaders and increasing equity in society. Good businesses understand they have a role to play in tackling climate change and take responsibility for their impact on the world around them. Their primary aim caring for the planet, involves working together to create a greener, more prosperous world and future.”
“We are collectively working to transform the opportunities for black and racial minorities and women in enterprise creation and growth in the Liverpool City Region, nationally and internationally,” says Michelle Charters, CEO at Kuumba Imani, which leads on the Collaborative. “We have committed to embedding racial and gender parity through strategic influencing across business ecosystems, to systemically change how businesses approach this. We are promoting models of best practice for operational use, a system by which it can be achieved with evidence-based research that provides the business case.
“Racial and gender parity in businesses will have a large impact on whether an economy or society will thrive particularly since the effects of the covid pandemic,” Michelle adds. That’s why it’s vital to adopt this approach now. “It has never been more important.
“It’s critical that diverse racial communities are showcased and demonstrate how co-production and collaborative working can be an effective change making enabler,” Michelle says, talking about the importance of the Good Business Festival to the region.
“Liverpool’s ability to attract people, business and investment into the city is an accomplishment to be proud of – particularly because it is due to the quality of life you can achieve and the friendliness of its people,” says Helen. “The important thing is to develop a level playing field to give the poorest and most excluded a fairer opportunity to be included, they say, giving people the chance to contribute to the city and play their part as citizens,” she says.
Thanks to the team at The Womens’s Org and Kuumba Imani.
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Rob Bremner is a British documentary and editorial photographer, studying at Wallasey College of Art and the School of Documentary Photography at Newport.
He spent summer 2021 capturing good businesses across Liverpool City Region, for the Good Business Festival’s #InGoodCompany series.
Follow Rob Bremner on instagram.
The Good Business Festival is passionately non-exclusive. It’s not about what you do or who you know. It’s not about agreeing on everything all of the time. It’s about everyone working towards a better world – no matter where you’re starting from.