The Chamber has launched a brand new initiative designed to help local businesses receive accreditation and official recognition of their efforts to support the local economy and the region’s priorities for improvement.
Companies that register for Raising the Bar will be assessed for their current level of contribution within four categories of community, economy, education and environment. Unlike larger schemes, it won’t be necessary for a business to do something in each category and initiatives such as apprenticeship schemes and buying locally are included as valuable socially responsible contributions.
Activity can be any work undertaken that has been organised by the participating company or an opportunity sourced via the Raising the Bar business-project matching service.
Carolyn Coleman, business services manager for The Chamber said: “Hundreds of local businesses do a lot of good work across the region yet they fail to get the recognition deserved. This scheme has been created especially for small to medium companies. It will allow them to take part in something that is not only inclusive of all sizes of business, but offers up meaningful activities that impact upon the places in which we all live and work.
“We are confident that those who take part in the accreditation scheme will reap the important additional benefit that official certification can bring when bidding for tenders. Many companies will award contracts to businesses that can demonstrate their corporate social responsibility activities. The stamp of approval brought by Raising the Bar could mean the difference between winning and losing a lucrative contract.”
Each business will be evaluated throughout the year and all those who participate will receive a certificate that denotes their level of accreditation – bronze, silver or gold. All participants will also be entered into an annual awards ceremony to celebrate their company’s achievements each December. Overall winners will be selected from within the four categories of assessment.
The scheme is fully backed by founding partner Provident Financial – one of the city’s largest employers – and a number of local partners including Incommunities, Rex Procter & Partners, Rance Booth Smith, Thorite, Tandem Marketing and HC Slingsby.
Rob Lawson, CSR manager for Provident said: “Raising the Bar reflects our desire to reach out to the smaller businesses in the local area and support them to continue to make a contribution to creating a sustainable local economy. Small businesses don’t always recognise that what they do in their everyday activities makes a significant difference to their local community and wider economy.
“The region, like every other area in the country, has its own unique set of issues. Raising the Bar aims to address these by highlighting the simple things that smaller organisations are doing, such as offering work experience places, and encouraging others to do the same.”