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The Salt Business Network: Meet some of our members

Simon Hickman, CEO, Access Insurance Services

Access Insurance Services has always sought to run a value based business model (VBBM). Creating value for customers, staff and the wider world as well as our shareholders.

I wanted to start a conversation internally about our mission and values. Investigating what we can do to alleviate poverty by supporting aid organisations, and those helping the poor, to set up sustainable businesses around the world.

The Salt Business Network seems to us to be the perfect space in which to explore these aims. Since joining the network it’s become clear to me that our VBBM needs to be clearly defined and communicated. Which is why our Mission and Values statement will be launched across the business this September.

Like me you may find yourself overwhelmed when you look at the vast number of people around the world affected by poverty. And yet we must do something. Our small individual contributions will have a huge impact for the few people it reaches.

My hope is the Salt Business Network flourishes as it strives to create a community of like-minded Christian professionals, committed to alleviating poverty worldwide.

Stuart Green, Founder, know research

know research is a market research consultancy business, based in the Midlands. We conduct research on behalf of many of the UK’s leading brands, including commercial and non-profit organisations. Our services include qualitative research, such as focus groups, and quantitative research, such as online surveys and app-based research.

The aim of know research is to make great research accessible to all organisations. We are particularly keen to support smaller businesses and non-profits, who are not well-served by large research agencies.

We are founder members of Christian Aid’s Salt Business Network and joined for several reasons. We are passionate about working ethically and responsibly, and Salt gives us the opportunity to explore what this means for businesses. As supporters of Christian Aid, we also strongly believe that we all have a role to play in reducing and eradicating poverty.

I have attended several Salt network meetings and have found them very helpful. They have provided me with key information about relevant topics for business leaders. Within the sessions, there has been the opportunity to discuss these issues with other business leaders. Network members come from a range of businesses, some from similar organisations to my own with similar challenges and much larger businesses with very different issues.

There has also been a challenge to review our business practices, coupled with support from Christian Aid. There have been some aspects of business which I have wanted to develop for some time, such as tax avoidance declarations for suppliers and clients, and the Salt network has given me a place to access advice on these.

Membership of the Salt network has enabled me to make tangible changes to the business. We have clarified its mission and changed our thinking about reporting to better reflect our business aim. We have also reviewed the way we communicate our values internally and externally.

Another development is making a corporate donation to the Incubator Fund. We find this scheme particularly appealing because it is about acting in partnership, which reflects our ways of working. The fund is about encouraging business leaders and giving them the ability to develop their business.

We believe strongly believe that entrepreneurs around the world can help to eradicate poverty, but also that sometimes resource is needed to unlock this potential. I was fortunate to have sufficient working capital and business knowledge to launch know research, but start-up businesses often find it difficult to scale-up their operations because of the risk involved. The positive knock-on effect of a successful business on local communities can be immense, and so we strongly support Christian Aid’s work to support these businesses in developing their potential.

Looking to the future of the Salt Business Network, I hope that the network will continue to grow and to have a positive influence on business in the UK and around the world. There is a greater awareness of social responsibility issues, but equally there are pressures on some businesses from the wider economy which can hamper progress. I pray that, as we continue to develop as a network, we can be an important voice which has a positive impact on business practices.