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vibrant economy

Companies who prioritise purpose, vision and culture see faster growth

Young people need more role models to show how you can do well by doing good, says Grant Thornton CEO 

New research from leading business and financial adviser Grant Thornton UK LLP suggests that company vision, culture and purpose are key priorities for UK businesses, particularly those demonstrating high-growth (grown by 20% turnover) in the last year.  

Research of 1,000 CEOs and business leaders from UK mid-market firms* revealed that company vision, culture and purpose is a top-five investment priority for more than a third (35%) of mid-market businesses. For high-growth businesses, this rises to 40%. 

On average, 38% of the businesses surveyed specifically invested in vision as a top-five investment to get to the next stage of growth, this rises to 43% of high-growth firms. 

Sacha Romanovitch, CEO of Grant Thornton UK LLP, believes that young people need more role models from the business, public and third sectors that demonstrate the value of vision, culture and purpose in their careers. She says: 

“According to data from YouGov** only 1% of 8-15 year olds want to work in business when they grow up. Being a politician was equally unpopular. The same research found that the top career motivations for this age group were to have fun and to help other people.  To inspire the next generation we need to do more to showcase and celebrate leaders from UK businesses, public and third sector organisations that role model how people and organisations can contribute to the growth of our economy and society in a positive way. 

“That’s why we began our Faces of a Vibrant Economy initiative, for which we are now launching the second annual showcase. Our Faces are exceptional leaders, driving positive results against a clearly defined purpose. Their commitment and passion makes us want to be like them, to work with them and to learn from them. 

“These leaders show us how business can be a force for good in society, how creative approaches to public services and commitment to investing in your people can drive superior results and how passion, coupled with purpose and a great idea can change the world for the better. 

“For our part, we are committed to continually building and connecting this network of inspirational leaders and their organisations so that they can learn, share ideas, teach others and ultimately continue to grow for the benefit of our economy and society. By curating this community and sharing their stories we hope to inspire others to follow their example.” 

Faces of Vibrant Economy 2017 identifies and brings together 100 organisations (private, public and third sectors) that demonstrate excellence in two or more of the following areas:

  • Purpose – investing in their workforce, connecting financial profit to social purpose and contributing to the wider community
  • Growth – fostering a culture of growth, job creation and leading their organisation into new markets
  • Innovation  - solving problems, leaders whose products or services are disrupting the sector and challenging the status quo

The leaders of these organisations have been photographed by three aspiring student photographers,selected as part of a nationwide competition to work with Getty Images for the project.

A 2017 Face of the Vibrant Economy, Brigette Bard is the entrepreneur behind the world’s first CE-marked, at-home HIV test. As the founder and CEO of BioSure, she has helped thousands of people discreetly determine their status. Brigette says: 

“I remember the story about JFK talking to someone sweeping the floors at NASA – the President asked, ‘And what do you do?’ The man replied, ‘I’m helping send the first man to the moon.” 

“That story sums up what BioSure is about. There’s a huge amount of passion in this building – passion for the goal we’re trying to achieve, and that breeds a culture where people help each other, go out of their way to do their best and have no time for outdated concepts like workplace hierarchy. 

“A vibrant economy is one that moves forward with confidence. Whatever you’ve got, you make it work and you do it with confidence.” 

Serial entrepreneur Tom Blomfield is re-inventing banking from the ground up. His fintech startup, Monzo, claims to be the bank of the future and has already attracted 470,000 users.

Tom says: 

“We want to build a financial control centre for 1 billion people – to give them visibility and control of their money. Monzo exists to make people’s lives easier, simpler and less stressful. 

“To me a Vibrant Economy is one where people from different backgrounds – including nationalities – can come and create products and services that change the world.”