Pioneering social enterprise, The Growth Company, has been accredited with the Social Enterprise Gold Mark, a prestigious accolade recognising that it puts the interests of people and the planet above financial gain.

Among many highlights, the accreditation recognises the added social value that The Growth Company brings to Yorkshire through programmes of support such as its delivery of the CFO Yorkshire Activity Hubs to support people on probation with getting back on track.

A UK-wide not-for-profit economic development agency, The Growth Company seeks to generate inclusive growth in the country’s economy by creating jobs and improving lives. It provides individuals and businesses with a wide range of services that improve employment, skills, investment, and enterprise for the benefit of all.

In August 2021, The Growth Company was accredited as a social enterprise through the Social Enterprise Mark. To achieve the additional Gold Mark, it had to submit a range of evidence outlining how it met criteria, including independently conducted interviews with Board members and responses from a staff survey.

The Gold Mark is a recognition that The company upholds the highest standards of a social enterprise and can show best practice across the areas of: governance, stakeholder engagement, business ethics, financial transparency and social impact.

Mark Hughes, CEO says: “I’m incredibly proud of the work that we do on behalf of the businesses and communities we support, and it’s testament to the people who work with us that we have now been independently accredited with the Social Enterprise Gold Mark.

“Achieving this high mark of excellence reinforces the impact we have on supporting people and going further when it comes to helping individuals get into work, grow their small businesses, and develop new skills and expertise. It means a huge amount to receive this prestigious accreditation which shows that we demonstrate best practice across several key business areas that are central to social enterprise excellence.

"This award recognises we are driven by our values, and make a positive difference to the people we work with and the world we live in.”

The assessor recognised that the firm was an organisation that “practices what they preach”. The report added, ‘Equality, diversity and inclusion are central objectives that run through service delivery and they represent part of who The Growth Company are as an organisation’.

Lucy Findlay MBE, managing director of the Social Enterprise Mark CIC, says: “We are so pleased that the Growth Company – our first group to apply and be awarded the Social Enterprise Gold Mark, have proved their excellence in social enterprise.

“We were particularly impressed at how the central values and ethos of the business are consistent throughout the various businesses at all levels.

“There is a real coherence and understanding of how everyone plays their part in achieving a better world. A real model for how social enterprise can successfully scale without losing its identity and purpose.”