Small Business Awards 2020

decision for their own business. It’s something for them to own and enact, which creates much higher buy-in than having a path forced upon them. The company has always worked with the principle that it would rather teach a man to fish, rather than fish for the man. A SCANDINAVIAN-BASED COMPANY WITH A GLOBAL OUTREACH The commitment to not applying a ‘one size fits all’ method and always delivering high-quality services with a personal touch is just one way in which TANIA ELLIS – The Social Business Company is set apart and above the competition. Another difference between this firm and others in the industry is its ability to always keep at the forefront of sustainable business trends and cutting-edge practices. These are informed by a wide cross-disciplinary network of business practitioners, policy-makers, educators and thinkers, entrepreneurs and corporates. With Tania at the helm, it’s little wonder that the firm has managed to achieve so much since its foundation. As a passionate thoughtleader, Tania Ellis has been engaged in honorary and voluntary work that have shaped the agenda for social innovation, social entrepreneurship and corporate social responsibility nationally and internationally. This has not only led to impactful work on committees, think tanks and advisory boards, involvement in grassroots projects and social ventures. The company has also informed and inspired the development of new business strategies and practies in hundreds of corporations, trained and certified 90+ sustainability professionals with its Sustainable Business Change Manager programme, initiated a formalised network of more than 3,000 professionals from around the world, and has conveyed insightful perspectives on sustainable business trends and practices through speaking engagements for thousands of people fromministries, NGOs, unions, public institutions, business schools and companies. Tania Ellis has also authored many materials on the topic, including the first Danish book on social innovation and social entrepreneurship, “De Nye Pionerer” in 2006 and the internationally renowned book “The New Pioneers - Sustainable Business Success Through Social Innovation & Social Entrepreneurship” in 2010, which has later been translated into Thai. Both these pieces demonstrate the sustainable business mindset, where companies put economic and social value creation into the heart of their business and organization for the benefit of society and the bottom line. A mindset that Tania Ellis calls ‘heartcore business’. Indeed, “The New Pioneers” has been praised as a ‘handbook for the global revolution’ with endorsements from, among others, Klaus Schwab, founder of the World Economic Forum. The success of the book, and the effectiveness of its text, can be seen in the reaction that came after its publication. It remains popular to this day, being listed as amongst the “100 Best Social Entrepreneurship Books of All Time” by BookAuthority in 2019. With such a range of different work on the go at any one time, it’s little surprise that the company has been able to have a noteworthy impact on businesses in Scandinavia and beyond. In 2014, Tania Ellis was recognized for her “significant contributions towards social change” with the Women Leadership Excellence Award at a ceremony in Mumbai, India. WALKING THE TALK – GIVE & GROW TANIA ELLIS – The Social Business Company is not just a business advisor. Since its foundation, the company has been committed to taking its own medicine, and the team always do their very best to walk the talk in everything they do. It was therefore only natural to have the true effects of the company’s efforts assessed through the international B Corp certification process. The assessment involved a rigorous look at the company’s operations in terms of verified societal and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. In 2019, TANIA ELLIS – The Social Business Company was given the recognized B Corp certification, officially making it a formal part of the global business force for good movement of like-minded companies like Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s, Alpro and Natura as well as other ambitious Scandinavian-baseed B Corp brands. The team’s daily work is guided by a “Give & Grow” principle that reflects the company’s mission and values of contributing to a culture, where you give while you grow. The Give & Grow principle helps the team retain their strong sense of direction, and is among other things reflected as a part of the firm’s offerings. For example, the company offers free Give & Grow consulting sessions for purpose-driven students or impact entrepreneurs, who need advice on how to move forward with their projects or ideas. It is also reflected in special Give & Grow rates for students, unemployed or others who have a passion for sustainable business, but lack the funds to otherwise benefit from the company’s services. Staying true to its purpose-driven mission and strong core values over the years is a key driving factor for the company’s success. In fact, this has proven to be good for business, also in times of crisis. Not only has the company survived the financial crisis of 2008 and the global COVID-19 pandemic. It has actually made the company stronger and helped it find new ways to thrive. A CONTINUOUS TEAM EFFORT Of course, this impressive approach would not be possible without an immensely talented team bringing everything together. Over the years, the company has had the privilege of attracting bright young interns, professional assistants and skilled team associates, who have contributed with their knowledge and fresh perspectives to the company’s business. Many of them are on a sustainability-focused career path, and the company has therefore been carefully designed to ensure that there is room for personal and professional development of employees at every level. The team naturally approaches tasks with a high level of professionalism, but there is always room for informal chats and laughter. These moments make the difference between an efficient company and an effective one, lightening the atmosphere and shaping the workday and internal culture. This consideration of balance permeates the company culture. Employees are trusted to work in the way that they do best, designing their own workday and having the freedom to work from different places. The COVID-19 pandemic has been a time of great challenge, but it has also helped the team discover how much of their work is possible from a remote workstation. Taking on new talent in a team like this is not always an easy ask. Hard facts such as skills, competences and experience only tell part of the story, and often a candidate’s positive attitude and personality are equally important, if not more. New talent should be willing to give, in order to grow, approaching tasks with curiosity, positivity and an eagerness to learn. In exchange, the company is dedicated to assigning relevant work tasks that will enable the employee to grow and develop both personally and professionally. So also here, the company’s key principle is applied with a so-called ‘Give & Grow’ contract, which both parties sign to ensure the best possible chance of success when hiring and to align mutual expectations and obligations. Talking clearly and effectively is key. THE FUTURE AHEAD Although TANIA ELLIS has been in business for almost two decades and runs the most professional of setups, the beating heart of the firm is still that of a startup. This is a team who look forward to seizing new opportunities, moving agilely forward while being humble and painfully aware of the daunting sustainability and social challenges that lie ahead. It’s this heady mix of approaches that is why the firm is not just a small Scandinavian-based business, but a company with a potential for creating a much wider and global impact. For the team at TANIA ELLIS, therefore, the future is bright indeed. In fact, they have begun exploring new ways in which their business model might be scaled both in terms of impact and the amount of business that can be taken on. Over the next decade, the company seeks to expand its sustainability services internationally via the means of digitalization and the application