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1 in 3 CEOs state that social purpose is at the forefront of their strategy, according to new research from ECI Partners

London, 13th December 2021: Almost a third (32%) of CEOs say that social purpose is at the forefront of their business strategy, according to ECI Partners’ new Growth Characteristics report. This may have been driven by the increased emphasis on social purpose that has emerged since the outbreak of the pandemic.

The research also revealed that social purpose was a key driver for smaller businesses, with an overwhelming majority (95%) of smaller business (between 10-49 employees) stating that social purpose informed part of their business strategy.

ECI, the growth-focused private equity firm, surveyed over 500 fast-growth SME business leaders as part of its Growth Characteristics report in order to define what makes a successful CEO as well as to understand current challenges and growth opportunities.

When looking at the sectors where social purpose is more prominent, CEOs in the education sector were most likely to state it informed part or all of their strategy, at 92%. This was followed by those in HR (90%) and financial services (86%).

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Laura Morrill, Investment Director, at ECI Partners said:

“Ultimately, unless companies consider, articulate and demonstrate purpose as part of their overall strategy, it will have an impact on their growth now, and in the long-term. It could impact anything from customer acquisition to talent retention as employees want to work for businesses that demonstrate their values. Moving forwards, we predict that social purpose will increasingly become the norm when it comes to businesses’ strategic ambitions, and it will continue to be a key consideration for investors.”

Sara Axelbaum, Global Head of Inclusion and Diversity at MiQ, an ECI portfolio company:

“The ‘Great Resignation’ has shown us that the precarious professional world that we were previously relying on was unsustainable, and that ‘bad’ behaviour was accepted. The pandemic made people more introspective about how they want to spend their waking hours, and many realised that they want to spend their time with a company that actually cares about them and the world around them. It has become a competitive advantage to give a damn about the people at your company. Beyond being the right thing to do, you can’t afford not to anymore.”

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