How will your business be remembered when you’re gone?
That’s a question I bet few entrepreneurs really think about. Most business owners are too busy with the day-to-day operations of keeping the wheels turning that they often find there’s no time left to think about the impact their commercial footprint is having on the world.
When you think of terms like ‘impact’ or ‘ethical’ investing, they’re usually in reference to big, publicly listed companies. Environmental, social and governance (ESG) are important ways of measuring the sustainable and ethical impact that companies have on the community and the planet. These issues are among the key criteria for the majority of investors, who are seeking out companies that can operate ethically without compromising on returns. Why should a small business be any different?
My own journey to find out how my company could play a greater role in making the world a better place started several years ago.
In previous articles I’ve written about my love affair with hiking. It’s a pursuit I began many years ago to restore my health and lose weight. The occasional bush walk quickly led to a clearer mind, better decision-making abilities and a number of overseas hiking adventures. One of the first was to Nepal.
Like many visitors to Nepal I fell in love with the place instantly. The beauty of the Himalayas, the gentle spirituality of the people and, of course, the fantastic spiced tea!
But Nepal is also an impoverished nation in many ways and the more I travelled there the more obvious it became that the life I enjoy in Australia is extremely fortunate. This led me to become involved in a number of humanitarian projects over the years.
Recently I decided that there are more ways for Australian businesses like ours to be of service to countries like Nepal than the odd sponsored walk or charity donation. I’d seen other finance companies set up offshore processing centres in cities like Kathmandu and Manila. I was intrigued.
Over the last 18 months I’ve been spending more and more time in Nepal, looking at the existing home loan and finance processing businesses that are operated by Australian brokers.
For a business of our size and scale it would be cost prohibitive to use these services, but we have enough volume to sustainably open our own office in Kathmandu, which we will be revealing more about over the coming months. Our success means nothing if it can’t be used to help those who need it most. Providing employment, skills and training to the people of Nepal is something we are passionate and very excited about at Acuity.
Who knew that a bush walk with a few mates many years ago would plant the seed that would grow into a passion for adventure, the love of a nation and an opportunity to invest in a community?
It’s still early days but we’re making great strides on our plans to open a Kathmandu office. I hope it is the beginning of an exciting new chapter for Acuity Funding and its new Nepalese team.