With a London Business Award in her hand, Ella Goldner, co-founder of Zinc, takes the chance to break down how her socially-driven company works
Is it just us or does any business leader flaunting a mug with the words “World’s Best Boss” on it invoke a certain David Brent from The Office feeling? Especially if they bought it themselves instead of earning it. But that’s certainly not the case for Ella Goldner, co-founder of Zinc, the enterprise communication platform, who recently secured the CEO Award at the London Business Awards.
Part of the reason why she certainly deserved her bragging rights is the fact that Goldner didn’t make the win about herself but about the company. “It's a great opportunity to tell our story and to share it with London, the UK and internationally,” she says. Seriously, she can’t stop singing the praises of her company in her moment of recognition. “I don’t think the award is the focus,” she says. “I think it’s really about setting up really big ambitious goals for yourself and your company and then working really hard on delivering [them].”
And clearly Zinc is no ordinary company. In a nutshell, it brings 50 innovators together to build a commercial business from the ground-up over a nine-month process, with each one engineered to fix an unmet need in the developed world. “What Zinc does, which is quite unique, is the idea that we’re bringing socially and purpose-driven companies together with a commercial business model,” Goldner summarises. The fast-growth companies must also address a market of at least 100 million people in the developed world, with multiple avenues to disrupt the status quo and improve existing services with technology. It goes without saying the programmes require many hands on deck. “We really rely on partnerships with academia, universities, charities, governments, corporates, tech entrepreneurs, VCs, scientists, media and creative,” Goldner explains.
However, although Zinc draws from all corners of the planet for these things it doesn’t always have to venture far from home. “If you go anywhere in the world, it'll be in different countries, states and cities,” Goldner says. “But London is so well-positioned from our perspective that you have all these things concentrated.” In fact, Zinc sees 20% of its cohorts relocated to the capital to start a company thanks to how rich its pools of talent, resources and capital are. “We really believe in the idea that London is a great place to start those kind of companies,” Goldner says.
Zinc is certainly impressive, as is the woman behind it. But ever-modest, she sees no reason why many like herself don’t deserve the same recognition. “I’ve been a part of the Female Founders trip to San Francisco [and] I think every single other woman in my tribe should have been awarded with the same, if not even more,” Goldner concludes.This article comes courtesy of London & Partners’ Business Growth Programme.Tailored to your business growth ambitions, the programme offers free impartial business advice and support to SMEs looking to grow across London