At the dinner, sixteen people from across the entrepreneur world, including startups, investors, and corporates, came together to discuss the state of innovation.
Michael Hayman, co-founder of Seven Hills and co-author of Mission: How the Best in Business Breakthrough, opened the evening with a call to action for businesses to push the startup agenda: The UK feels like its currently without a mission – the previous recession didnt have a startup environment. We need to make sure that we are pushing it now, and that were looking at companies who are ambitious businesses with a mission lead ethos.
Using key statistics, such as how 67,000 businesses in the UK were founded in the last five years, and 40% of businesses were less than 15 years old, and yet, still accounted for 70% GDP, he proved the startup and entrepreneur communities were vital in Britains continued growth and economic stability.
People and purpose create innovation
The question of Why bother to have a purpose when 70% of brands could drop dead tomorrow and no one would care sent the discussion in a new direction. With failing corporate social responsibility programmes across many large organisations, Hayman wondered if mission driven entrepreneurs were the exception, rather than the rule: Is it because we actually care about making a difference, or is it just that we all care about different things, diluting the efforts for change?
He went on to discuss the three main types of mission-led businesses and why they were innovative (hint: they come from a place of authenticity and trust and were solving real problems):
Carers: they improve other peoples lives, for example, Ellas Kitchen.
Sharers: connect people and information (Airbnb), and
Darers: those who refuse to take no for an answer (Uber).
What can Brexit do for the UK?
Hayman maintained that Brexit could provide the opportunity for businesses to shine and make a real difference, as, increasingly, they take on social and political agendas, and in doing so, could be the catalyst for societal change.
The dinner ended on a rallying note. Hayman: “As entrepreneurs, were optimistic. Our fears are not in innovation or the skills that are currently here; the concern is the disconnection. We need to balance the monetisation of society with the purpose. And ifyou think youre too small to make a difference – try going to bed with a mosquito!