The Prince of Wales’s new business ambassador wants to create a new generation of ethical entrepreneurs.
Chris Nott OBE says that working in a responsible way can be good for businesses and is not simply about philanthropy and firms in Wales are already setting an example in adopting good operating practices.
That’s the message which the leading lawyer and entrepreneur will have for members of Wrexham Business Professionals (WBP) when he is a keynote speaker at their next meeting at the Ramada Plaza on September 14.
The group is made up of successful businesses and highly skilled professional firms of solicitors, accountants and other business professionals working together to raise the profile of enterprise and expertise that exists in the region and beyond.
Mr Nott is the founder of two law firms and is senior partner with Cardiff-based Capital Law which was voted Welsh Law Firm of the Year in 2015/16.
Before forming Capital Law he set up and grew a number of other businesses outside the legal sector. He is also an official advisor to the Welsh Government.
Outside the legal world, he is chair of the Welsh Government’s Financial and Professional Services, and was a member of the Task and Finish Group for the Development Bank for Wales from 2012-2014.
In December 2016, he received an OBE for services to business and economic development in Wales.
In his new role as ambassador he liaises directly between The Prince of Wales and his charity Business in the Community (BITC) Cymru to support the growth of the responsible business movement in the country.
Responsible business means the adoption of sound policies and practices in the workplace, the environment, the community and the marketplace and being open and honest with employees, customers, suppliers, distributors and other stakeholders.
Mr Nott explained that after being appointed as ambassador he decided to take the promotion of responsible business as his guiding theme for his two years in the role.
He said: “Wrexham Business Professionals will be my first speaking engagement since becoming ambassador just a few weeks ago but I know the Wrexham area really well.
“We also have many legal clients in North Wales, so I spend a lot of my time there.
“As ambassador, I’ll be travelling to every region of the country, each of which has its own strengths and, of course, Wrexham plays a significant role in the overall economy of Wales.
“When I meet members of WBP I’ll be explaining something of my new position and how it has no job description or targets.
“l see responsible business as being all about a mind-set and a journey rather than a millstone or an event.
“I’ll tell WBP members that if leaders of organisations understand and believe that working responsibly is good for their business, then their business will start doing things that are more responsible than at the moment.
“While I’m coming to Wrexham to talk I’m also coming to listen because my belief that responsible business isn’t something new.
“It’s something that is going on, often under the radar, in businesses all around Wales and at the WBP meeting I’ll be listening to what members think about it and what their own stories are.”
Mr Nott, who was recently nominated as for the Legal Personality of the Year Award, added: “One of things law firms do is interact. Last year we were worked with a thousand companies, so we get to see good practices and bad practices.
“And while there are some bad practices in business, things you see sometimes make you think, ‘that’s a good idea, we’ll do that.’
“So in some ways the law is a litmus test for what’s going on in the wider economy.
“In my speech I’ll be saying that I believe working responsibly in a practical and pragmatic way is good for business and is not philanthropy.
“By talking to people like WBP members I want to start a dialogue across Wales about working responsibly because my instinct is that Wales is an exemplar. There are businesses around the country who get this and I’m looking to hear what’s happening in each region.”
Also speaking at the WBP meeting, which takes as its theme Powering Regional Prosperity, will be Jim Jones, Managing Director of North Wales Tourism.
Gill Kreft, the chair of Wrexham Business Professionals, said: “We are looking forward to welcoming Chris Nott and Jim Jones for what I am sure will be insightful and thought provoking addresses. Ethical and socially responsible business is the only long term way to secure a sustainable future in the world of commerce.
“Their views will I am sure inspire us to go to even greater lengths to generate sustainable wealth and prosperity for the people of the region, with Wrexham at the heart of an economic powerhouse.”