Respect those who ask 'What can I do?'
INSPIRING businesses to do their bit for the community is the aim of the Corporate Social Responsibility category of the Express & Echo Business Awards, which this year is sponsored by ATASS Respect.
The 'beyond profit' company, part of the Exeter-based ATASS Group, was a finalist in the category last year alongside Michelmores and eventual winners Exeter City FC's Football in the Community Trust.
Since its foundation in 2010, ATASS Respect has been involved with a variety of projects and organisations in the Exeter area, ranging from charitable sponsorship to funding a climate change research project at Paignton Zoo.
In October, ATASS Respect will stage the second annual Think Partnership conference in Exeter to promote CSR partnerships within the region's business community.
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Executive director Vanessa Cobb explained: "We launched the company as a bit of an experiment to see whether we could deliver a modest package of support to the community which made more of a difference if you added up all the benefits than the cost of the investment."
On ATASS Respect's sponsorship of the award, Vanessa said: "It was terrific to be shortlisted amongst friends last year in Michelmores and Exeter City. It was a nice acknowledgement to be in that company. We would all have been delighted for each other and we are particularly thrilled that Exeter City won because they are quietly doing innovative work that doesn't get a lot of attention.
"This year we decided that rather than competing again for the award we wanted to return to our core message, which is to facilitate, encourage and inspire CSR in this community.
"I see one of our jobs as first of all setting an example, so that's why we are looking at different ways of being proactive in community support, but secondly finding small ways in which we can encourage others to go beyond what they would otherwise have done. The CSR award is a marvellous way of doing that.
"It's great that the Express & Echo is acknowledging the entrepreneurial skill and drive in the region and we want to line up beside that.
"One thing I'm very much looking forward to is seeing the calibre of entrants. I know the category was heavily subscribed last year. That's so encouraging because when times are hard some people close down and get very insular and defensive, but most good-hearted people will actually embrace the need that's out there and say 'What can I do?'"
Also sponsoring the 2013 Express & Echo Business Awards, run in partnership with Eclipse Internet, are Exeter College, Business Solutions, Fidelius Insurance Services, First Great Western, Ivor Doble, Kitsons Solicitors and Pavey Group.
Full details can be found at www.exeterbusiness awards.co.uk and by following @exebizawards on Twitter.
For advertising and sponsorship opportunities, contact Justin Hall on 01392 207141 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to enter:
Simply choose one or more of the following 12 categories:
Corporate Social Responsibility;
Employer of the Year;
Best Creative Business;
ExIST Innovation Award;
Business of the Year;
Small Business of the Year;
Excellence in Customer Service;
Family Business of the Year;
Entrepreneur of the Year;
Young Entrepreneur of the Year;
Best Tourism/Hospitality Business.
Then tell us all about your achievements by filling in the relevant entry questionnaire at www.exeterbusiness awards.co.uk
Entrants are also encouraged to upload a short video about themselves, though this is not compulsory.
The awards are open to all businesses in Exeter and the Heart of Devon.
The deadline for entries is Thursday, March 14.
The competition will culminate in a gala dinner and awards ceremony at the University of Exeter on Friday, April 26.