Here at Allia, we talk a lot about our mission to create a positive impact for people, place and planet… But what does our team do in their personal lives to play their part in saving the planet? After all, it’s the small things that go towards making a big difference.
Ask any founder and they will list the things that make starting a business tough – working long hours yet feeling as though you lack the time to get everything done. Not knowing where to turn for help or advice plus being so busy managing the day-to-day jobs that the strategy gets left behind.
When we built our first Future Business Centre in Cambridge back in 2013, we knew there were certain organisations that needed to be part of our impact community from the start. And one of them was Cambridge Cleantech. Celebrating its 10th anniversary last year, the UK’s largest cleantech member organisation is growing and expanding its reach well beyond Cambridge – in fact, it has welcomed international members over the years from countries such as Israel, India, North and South America and Japan.
It’s safe to say that most organisations would like to improve their carbon footprint, reduce their emissions, and be more ‘eco-friendly’ and environmentally focused, but many don’t know where to start, or what that really involves. How much difference does it really make if one organisation turns down the heating in their offices, or encourages more staff to car-share on the way to work?
Imagine you are a creative freelancer at the start of lockdown. You have been building your business over the past few years and you know how to meet new market demands, but the dance studios, art galleries and community centres are now entirely closed.
Allia has kick-started a Climate in Focus campaign that will span activities within its Future Business Centres and the programmes that its venture support team deliver in 2022, in order to raise the urgency of the climate crisis and support those who have innovative solutions to address it.
Like a bright sunrise in January, the Climate Accelerator launch day lit Allia’s hopes for a great year ahead. Last week, the conference room at the British Antarctic Survey was filled with greetings as the Climate Accelerator cohort members gathered to pitch their ideas to each other, sharing their plans for a greener future.
As we observe in Dragons Den, the process of pitching a business idea before a panel of judges is daunting, to say the least. A stage sweat, worsened by the overhead lights, and the loud sound of expectation and applause are enough to send most people home.
The impact field is often regarded as difficult to quantify, qualify, and monetise. Yet as more social enterprises and other purpose-driven businesses continue to emerge and shine, the fact of impact’s real success is becoming impossible to ignore. There may be specific learnings that corporate leaders can glean from the experiences of founders in the impact space.