A conversation with Paul Hargreaves, CEO of Cotswold Fayre
When it comes to building a social enterprise, there will always be two sides to the coin. On one hand, there’s business; on the other, there’s purpose. It takes finding that perfect balance between the two to find true success in both. But how do you know when it’s time to focus on one or the other? Let’s find out.
Long before he even knew what a B Corporation was, Paul Hargreaves was always determined to change the world through business. After spending 13 years working with needy families in London’s inner city, Paul unexpectedly found his way to specialty food and drink wholesale distribution and, ultimately, founded Cotswold Fayre in 1999. With the greater good still very much at the heart of his ambition, Paul strove to use his company as a tool to transform the industry. Today, Cotswold Fayre is a successful social enterprise (and B Corporation) committed to a fair and happy work environment, eco-friendly business practices, and supplying nearly 2000 retailers in the UK and Ireland with high-quality artisan-made goods.
Paul has gained a lot of wisdom to impart on people who want to be better leaders and build better businesses, and in this episode of the Social Enterprise and Innovation Podcast, he sat down to share some of that wisdom with us. From adopting the mindset of making people happy to breaking down the pros and cons of for-profit vs charity business models, Paul gives unfiltered advice based on his experiences as a social entrepreneur. You can read more about his unique journey in his first (and probably not last) book, Forces for Good.
Want more episodes on finding harmony between profit & purpose? Check out:
- #7 – Motivated by the Heart and Asking for Meaning as Compensation, 27 Years as a Social Entrepreneur and Over $2MM in Contributions with Russ Stoddard, CEO & Founder of Oliver Russell
- #31 – Industry and Impact Leaders: Staying Mission-Focused with the #1 Baby Food Company in the UK, with Mark Cuddigan, CEO of Ella’s Kitchen
- #29 – Transitioning from Traditional Business to a Social Enterprise with Bernie Geiss, Founder of Cove Continuity Advisors
“If people are happy and fulfilled working for me, then I’ve done my part to make the world a better place. It’s the whole reason I’m in business.” – Paul Hargreaves
Paul (far right) with a few Cotswold Fayre team members participating in an office team day out
- How Paul went from working to inner-city London to running Cotswold Fayre
- Why making profits can potentially be better for the world than charitable work
- The pitfalls of trying to do too much “good” with your business before it’s established.
- How to find your sense of purpose again when you feel like you’ve lost it
- Why (and how) leaders should make a conscious effort to make their employees happy
- The benefits to leaders of being authentic and taking off their “masks.”
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