The Good Business Festival: “The Planet is your boss; every action is accountable to the planet”

What a week!

Last week saw the betternotstop team head over to Liverpool, UK, to attend the long overdue (you know why…) Good Business Festival!  There with an open mind and positive attitude, the team had one thing on their agenda: helping purpose-driven businesses change the world.

We kickstarted our day by heading straight to The Hub – hosted by Liverpool’s ‘home of celebration’ Oh Me Oh My – to collect our wild flower seed wristbands. And yes, these have already been planted in our office garden (alright, balcony pots, but it still counts!). After some interesting conversations with Edge Hill University’s Productivity & Innovation Centre lead Kate Currie, and browsing the market stalls – Yasmin and Grey Collective was our favourite! – the team headed over to Liverpool Town Hall for our first session.

Key takeaways from the Leading a Better Way session with TRAID’s Maria Chenoweth and Paul Sesay from The Inclusive Companies and the National Diversity Awards included:

  • To be a leader, you need to have followers. You cannot underestimate the importance of bringing people along on the journey with you.
  • You don’t necessarily need to have a clear vision to lead – being honest and transparent will enable people to believe in you. Don’t force the vision, it will come.

Subsequent sessions delved into topics including The Dream Gap Project launched by Barbie in 2018, the One Day Report focusing on women in the Liverpool City Region, and the concept of filter bubble, ie: not surrounding yourself with people and information you know supports your views. Panellists included Kelly Beaver, CEO of Ipsos; Agamemnon Otero, CEO of Energy Garden, Ravi Gurumurthy, CEO of innovation agency for social good Nesta, and Jemma Finch, Founder of Stories Behind Things.

Entrepreneur and Dragon’s Den investor Steven Bartlett also spoke, giving insights into his career journey and business process. He noted how the principles of compound interest have played a huge role in his success; ‘not brushing your teeth today, tomorrow, even next year, won’t make a difference, but over the next fifty years it will add up. It’s the same with business. Make the seemingly insignificant changes today so that in the future you can benefit from your actions’. Steven even did a little shout out for Lucam Retreats charity proving that if you don’t ask, you don’t get…

Quote of the day goes to Pooja Agrawal, Co-founder and CEO of Public Practice:

“Be happy making other people uncomfortable”

After the Climate Crisis Film Festival evening activity, we were ready for day two! Talks like The Only Way is Ethics hosted by journalist Lucy Siegle piqued our interest – did you know there are at least 87 different labels / accreditations / standards which are supposed to guide consumers about how to ‘shop green’!

This concept of defensive reassurance was a golden thread throughout the day. Peter Gilheany, Director of Forster Communications discussed on the panel ‘Real Purpose or Greenwashing’ the importance of holding businesses and people to account, but that it’s important the onus to make responsible decisions isn’t placed solely on the consumer. But it was during the Firestarters x TGBF workshop (during which our very own Hannah Cox spoke as an expert panellist!) that businesses had the loudest voice when it came to making tangible actions around responsible decision making in the climate crisis.

Our reflections on the Good Business Festival was that there is a lot to be positive about. Purpose-led businesses are growing in popularity and confidence, and with greater resource being dedicated to securing funding for purposeful SMEs across the Liverpool City Region, I am hopeful that the Festival will leave a lasting legacy.

Special mention to Garth Dallas and the rest of the Good Business Festival Team for hosting such an amazing event. We’re already looking forward to GBF2023!