Small Business Saturday Blog

Purposely: embedding purpose into the heart of your small business

Thursday, August 09, 2018 at 08:30

Purposely is a new online tool which helps businesses embed their purpose into their company articles.
The tool is a response to the government’s Mission-Led Business Review, which found that few companies realise they're legally able to do this. Purposely was designed and created by UnLtd, in partnership with law firm Bates Wells Braithwaite, and with strategic support from the government.
A fifth of small businesses operate with a social or environmental mission in mind
There are many entrepreneurs, ranging from café owners to manufacturers, who set up their business not only for profit but also to deliver wider benefits to society. They run their businesses with a strong sense of purpose. For example, this purpose might be to provide valuable products, services or jobs for local people; to be the most innovative company in its sector; or to provide affordable housing.
You might be one of them: 22% of UK small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) have a particular social or environmental goal – that means over 1.2 million enterprises. Purpose-driven businesses are estimated to represent over 4% of the economy, with a combined turnover of £165 billion.
It matters what’s in your company articles
Most start-ups are unaware that company law already allows them to put purpose into the DNA of their business – in their company articles. Embedding purpose in this way has a profound impact. It allows founders to fundamentally redefine success for their business.
You can put the interests of employees, beneficiaries or other stakeholders on a par with, or even ahead of, shareholders’ financial interests. Specifying a purpose alongside or beyond profit places a duty on directors to take decisions in line with that purpose. It represents an unambiguous commitment and underpins authenticity for internal and external stakeholders. It helps a company to encourage a set of cultures and behaviours that matter to you as the founder.
This is a brilliant, but so far underused, opportunity. Even the few founders who are aware of this flexibility in company law find it costly and time-consuming to create bespoke articles.
To make things simpler, we created Purposely: a free and simple-to-use online tool that helps you incorporate your purpose into your articles. You will be prompted to think about your company’s purpose and how you would like to build it into your business. Based on your responses, you will be presented with amended company articles suited to you. If you decide to adopt these, you can then submit them to Companies House.
Purposely helps you secure your legacy
Purposely caters for founders of private limited companies. You're likely to be at a relatively early stage – up to three years old – but might also be at the point of incorporation or more established.
Purposely is for you if you want to secure your legacy: if you are concerned about what would happen to the ethos of your small business if you stepped down. Or if you are thinking of scaling up and want to make sure you find the right kind of investors – those, who know what they are buying into and accept that your values are integral to your business.
Find out more about why and how to incorporate your company’s purpose at


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