Ok, I’ll be honest, I am not sure how comfortable I really felt. There I was organising (with the help of Ernst & Young (EY) and Young Presidents Organisation (YPO) this incredible coming together of women entrepreneurs in four locations across Manchester, London, Birmingham and Edinburgh for a live-streamed event, and for a start (the giveaway is in the name Shaughan) I am not a woman. Now this is not so much of a problem for me, as I work in a predominantly all-female environment but I am not, nor have I ever been an entrepreneur. But where I did feel incredibly comfortable, was in the shared passionate belief of all the guests that business can be . I am not alone in this.
To set the scene, Maurice Ostro OBE shared polling data of YPO members which show that 93% of them believe that the business of business is to do more than just secure profits, but to become a force for good in the world. Just five years ago 74% of YPO’s business leaders would have answered this question differently. That is a seismic shift, a clarion call for business to understand that profit and social purpose can go hand in hand, and the key to this Maurice said, is building communities of entrepreneurs, so that collaboratively ‘we can make a huge difference in this world’.
With that in mind, what better person to address the group than Kim Morrish who was EY’s Entrepreneur of The Year, Transformational Leader 2018, and co-founder of Ground Control and Canterbury Partners. She is a successful serial entrepreneur and impact investor.
Kim took us on a journey through her life and influences, beginning with her time at University when she attended her commencement speech and was asked a simple question: who do you owe? This began a lifelong journey of what she called “paying it forward” in her business practices – something that is key to her success.
“When you support your people, almost all empirical evidence suggests that it drops through to profits. I see this every day in my business – the fastest growing in our industry, the biggest in terms of revenue, with the highest levels of profits and 95% customer retention. We do this by living true to our values.”
She also told us about the support and guidance she’s received from her membership of YPO (formerly Young Presidents Organisation) and how she’s benefited from being involved with a supportive community of peers.
A very big thank you to EY for hosting us for the evening and continuing to support women entrepreneurs in all the work they do. This is just the beginning of the women’s network and a chance for female founders to support each other to be more successful and purposeful all year round. Thank you to everyone who participated – we look forward to hosting you again soon.
Well, I may not be a woman, nor even an entrepreneur (yet) but isn’t Kim’s question one for everyone: ‘who do we owe?’ and isn’t ‘paying forward’ a fascinating concept not just for entrepreneurs but for us all, even us men! This was a great EG event, and I felt so excited to be part of it, even if I am not sure in a coming together of dynamic and empowered women, my face did quite fit (perhaps next time I will be clean shaven!).