The business of survival
Posted on: Tuesday 7th August 2012
ROBERT ARMOUR of Third Force News reports that traditional charities are increasingly taking risks to set up income-generating business ventures and that for many it is the only way to survive the current economic climate. Despite the recession, the word profit can still make a charity board reach for the cough mixture but for St Andrew's First Aid, it made perfect sense. The charity, which can trace its history back to 1882, is recognised as the country's foremost supplier of first aid. From football matches to charity abseils, from rock concerts to first aid in the workplace, St Andrew's First Aid has the market cornered. But that's no reason to rest on its laurels says chief executive Stuart Callison.
The new enterprise, launched earlier this month, will create a separate business, offering first aid training to private businesses. Although it already does this, creating a dedicated commercial arm will enable St Andrew's First Aid to focus on maximising its income. Callison forecasts a turnover of £1.4m in its first year with an eye on year-on-year growth thereafter to increase its share of the work related training market in Scotland, which is worth some £6m a year.
It makes complete sense. There were 10,135 reported injuries to employees in Scotland over the course of the last year with 2.1 million working days lost due to work related injury and ill-health. More seriously, some 15 workers were fatally injured at work, a figure that could be reduced through increased health and safety training.
Initially employing 25 staff, Callison believes venturing out from the charity’s comfort zone is the best way to attract new business but also to build capacity in the sector. “It’s no secret charities are becoming increasingly enterprising on the back of the financial downturn,” he says. “And we are all looking for new ways of generating income. It’s not that we are facing a crisis; it’s just that we need to exploit what we have and our name is the best in the business.”
Read the full feature here