News story

Mission-led business review: call for evidence opens and expert panel members named

Cabinet Office is calling for evidence on how to support mission-led businesses over the next decade.

A new call for evidence will welcome views on why businesses might choose to become mission-led, how these businesses will grow over time, the challenges they might face and how to address them.

Mission-led businesses are profit-driven businesses that make a powerful commitment to social impact. This model attracts entrepreneurs and investors who want to use the power of business to make a difference and tackle social and environmental challenges.

The call is open to everyone, particularly those who run mission-led and mainstream businesses, as well as those who invest in, advise and fund businesses that combine profit and social impact.

Minister for Civil Society, Rob Wilson, said:

Mission-led businesses have the potential to revolutionise the way we solve some of our biggest social challenges. This review will help us find new ways to tap into their full potential, helping us to improve the lives of those in most need whilst creating a more compassionate society.

I welcome as much input as possible into this review to make sure that we get this right. I want every entrepreneur to be able to easily establish a business that commits them to making social as well as an economic impact on society if they chose to.

The call for evidence closes on 8 July. The evidence gathered will contribute to the mission-led business review and we will publish a report with recommendations in autumn 2016.

The chair of the expert advisory panel supporting the review, Nigel Wilson, CEO of Legal & General Group, has also announced 9 new experts who will help develop recommendations to double the size of the mission-led business sector over the next decade.

The experts, who have deep experience in starting, supporting or investing in mission-led businesses, will uncover ways to bring more investors, customers and employers to these businesses over the next decade.

Expert panel members are:

  • Nigel Wilson (CEO, Legal & General Group plc)
  • Natalie Campbell (Founding Partner, A Very Good Company)
  • Luke Johnson (Founder and Chairman, Centre for Entrepreneurs)
  • Loughlin Hickey (Trustee, Blueprint for Better Business)
  • Andrew Goodman (Partner, McKinsey & Company)
  • Marcello Palazzi (Founder, Progressio Foundation)
  • Antony Ross (Partner, Bridges Ventures)
  • Annika Small (Co-founder, Centre for Acceleration of Social Technology)
  • Frank Welvaert (Managing Director, Johnson & Johnson Corporate Citizenship Trust)
  • Monique Villa (CEO, Thomson Reuters Foundation)

Speaking as Chair of the expert advisory panel, Nigel Wilson, said:

To get us to a solid set of recommendations to grow mission-led businesses to double their size in the UK economy, we have appointed a high calibre panel of experts. We need them to share their expertise, listen to the sector and make solid recommendations to bring customer, investments, good people and appropriate governance to a sector leading innovation in the UK. I’d like to thank the panel in advance for their time and energy to positively disrupt this market.

 What is a mission-led business?

The review focusses on any business that fits the following description:

  • can fully distribute its profits
  • identifies an intention to have a positive social impact as a central purpose of its business
  • makes a long-term or binding commitment to deliver on that intention through its business and operations
  • reports on its social impact to its stakeholders

The review seeks to distinguish between businesses that are intentionally and strategically mission-led in this way and ordinary commercial businesses that engage in corporate social responsibility initiatives.

We anticipate that the review will uncover a better picture of the businesses that would recognise themselves in this description. This is a developing area and we encourage these characteristics to be read as inclusive, rather than static and closed.

 Examples of mission-led businesses:

Oomph! is the UK’s largest provider of fun, inclusive and effective exercise classes for older adults. Oomph trains staff and volunteers to provide personalised exercise for over 65s and provides research tools to track health outcomes. Oomph works in 500 care homes across the North of England and Yorkshire, and has a franchise starting in Hong Kong.

Andiamo is building healthcare solutions for disabled children to ensure that no child anywhere in the world has to wait more than a week for their medical device. By using 3D scanning and digital printing technology, they aim to reduce the wait time for an orthoses from 28 weeks to 48 hours. This year, they are testing this service with 20 families in the UK, and ultimately plan to take the service global.

Aduna is an Africa-inspired health and beauty brand and social business. Its mission is to create demand for under-utilised natural products from small producers in rural Africa, starting with the nutrient-dense ‘super-ingredients’ baobab and moringa. Aduna works in partnership with community organisations and purchases directly from small-scale producers.