Mayor celebrates milestone with Tees Valley business

A Tees Valley training organisation says its certification as a B Corporation signals a milestone for both it and the whole sales industry.

The Just Williams Sales Academy has become part of the global B Lab movement which has a mission to use business as a force for good, pursuing purpose and not just profit.

To be certified as a B Corporation – or B Corp – the Just Williams Sales Academy has made changes to become more sustainable in its practices – for the benefit of its people, customers as well as the planet.  Its partner Just Williams Ltd has gone through a similar process and is already a B Corp.

B Lab, a not-for-profit organisation, was started in 2006 by three university friends in the United States and there are now B Labs in nearly 100 countries representing 8,000 businesses from 160 different industries.

The Just Williams Sales Academy team celebrated its certification with Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen.  They discussed sustainable business practices and what this new milestone will mean for the business.

“Having local firms tap into the enormous potential for growth that exists here in Teesside to win new work and create more good-quality jobs is always welcome, but to see businesses doing it in a way that champions the local supply chain and puts the community at the centre of its work is the way to go,” said the Mayor.

“B Corp certification is a huge accolade, and to have Just Williams and The Just Williams Sales Academy become the first firms in the Tees Valley to receive this is testament to their commitment to sustainable growth and being a force for good.”

Demonstrate highest levels for governance

The companies had to demonstrate the highest levels for governance and in their relationships with their staff, customers and community.  They also had to meet demanding environmental standards.

Academy founder Jessica Williams said: “This is not about ticking a box. This is about doing the right thing from start to finish on behalf of our teams – as well as our clients and supply chain – and providing an example for others to follow. It’s not just about doing business, it’s about how you do business.”

The Just Williams Sales Academy was launched in 2019 to provide training for all sales professionals.  It worked with more than 1,000 delegates – both face-to-face and online – during the pandemic and now provides a mix of in-person and online courses, tripling the number of alumni of the Academy to date.

Its ambition is to become the “leading provider of sales training in the UK”, offering short, stand-alone modules to help small business owners grow, diversity their markets and increase their level of sales.  The Academy also provides specially tailored training for sales teams.

To complete its certification The Just Williams Academy has to legally embed its commitment to purpose beyond profit in its company articles. It will also be re-assessed every three years to show that it is continuing to evolve through continuous improvement and an increase in the company’s impact in key areas.

Head of Delivery Emma McDonald said: “Becoming a certified B Corp not only represents a huge milestone for The Just Williams Sales Academy and our teams, it’s also a major step change within the industry as a whole. The Academy achieving B Corp certification has given new purpose to our company’s mission and we’re excited to continue our journey as we grow”.

Will donate 5% of profits to charities

Amongst the measures it has adopted, The Just Williams Sales Academy will now donate 5% of its profits to its charity partners.  Its staff will receive a range of enhanced benefits such as additional leave entitlement, a Wellness Day, private healthcare and be offered two volunteering days each year.

As a sign of the growing impact of B Corps – and to acknowledge shoppers’ demands for ethical and sustainable products – food retailers Waitrose and Ocado have introduced sections on their websites which only offer items of food and drink supplied by certified companies.