Purpose as well as profit motivates travel and tourism female entrepreneurs

Purpose as well as profit motivates travel and tourism female entrepreneurs

In the 1970’s, economist and Nobel Prize winner Milton Friedman, from the Chicago School of Economics, asserted that the purpose of organisation is to create value for its shareholders

Numerous economic crises and high levels of unemployment have meant people wondering whether this is indeed corporations sole aim and ‘reason d’etre’.  ‘Authenticity’ and ‘Leading with purpose’ have now become widely used terms from Wall Street to the Bank of England following a revolutionary approach developed by John Elkington  in the mid 1990’s that encouraged business to measure results through ‘The Triple Bottom Line’: ‘People Planet  and Profit’.

This concept – now embodied by the term of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) – remains extremely relevant and has increased in importance due to the implications of not taking care of people and planet.

Lessons have been quickly learnt in the Travel and Tourism sector. Increasingly frequent events such as flooding, lack of snow or civil unrest due to poverty and social injustice have affected popular destinations due to reckless misuses of people and resources.

However, a new breed of travel professionals and entrepreneurs has come to the fore. Motivated by greater consumer awareness and their own understanding of CSR, they want to drive change across the sector and extend its influence to the more traditional and well established corporations.

Social entrepreneurs running businesses with a social aim at its core are growing exponentially, and women are represented in greater number than in the global economy. According to the British Council, social enterprising offers more employment to females than other type of enterprises: 66% in the UK (versus 46%), 65% in the USA (versus 46%), 55% in Brazil (versus 43%) and 37% in Pakistan (versus 24%).

Although we do not have specific data, ad hoc evidence reinforces an ‘educated inference’ that this is also true for global travel and tourism: Women’s Tourism Enterprises around the world and Amanda’s Wanderlust.

More and more people are looking to use tourism as a ‘force for good’ using ‘purpose’ to mobilise staff and communities towards a common goal.

At Women in Travel CIC we are crystal clear about our social purpose: to use travel and tourism to economically empower women. Whether through events, employability or entrepreneurship, our objective is to create more sustainable communities by placing economically empowered women at their hearts.

As an enterprise in travel and tourism have you asked yourself, ‘what is my purpose?’

It would be great to hear from companies out there who either have a social aim or are on a journey to identify theirs. Please comment and share below!

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Alessandra is founder of social enterprise Women in Travel CIC which she launched in January 2017 to provide communities in key regions (for example UK, Middle East, Africa and Latin America) with a sustainable livelihood by enabling women to become economically independent through entrepreneurship and a thriving career in the travel and tourism industry. Alessandra is also Chief Mentor & Consultant at Everyday Mentor, where she provides mentoring, coaching and consulting services to a range of clients in the commercial and public sector. Alessandra also collaborates with a number of Universities, including Hertfordshire, Normandy and Surrey. Alessandra is passionate about gender in tourism and has written and spoken extensively on the subject over the last 12 years, including at the United Nations World Tourism Day. She is well known as co-founder of Shine People and Places – a boutique outfit dedicate to supporting women in the workplace - and The Shine Awards for Women Achievements in Travel Tourism Hospitality and Events, which she ran between 2004 and 2010 before Sector Skills Council People 1st took them over. Prior to Shine Alessandra worked at KPMG, where she built the Travel & Tourism division, and the World Travel and Tourism Council. Alessandra has an executive MBA from the University of Ediburgh/Grande Ecole Pons combined; she is a qualified coach/mentor for performance in the workplace and she is a member of several industry bodies including AWTE and the UK Tourism Society.

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