Meaningful Business (MB:) Please tell us a bit about your background.
Steve Butterworth (SB): I joined a ‘start-up’ in the late 90s (before they were called ‘start-ups’?!) and subsequently bought that business in a management buyout (MBO) in the mid 2000’s. That business took me to Chicago for 5 years where I set up, ran and managed offices in the US, Canada and Australia, before selling it to the senior management team in a secondary buyout. That freed me up to move back to the UK, explore other opportunities, to be a stay-at-home parent for a while (which was amazing) and eventually find my way to Neighbourly.
MB: What led you to take on the CEO role at Neighbourly?
SB: I really wanted to use what I had learned and the skills I had acquired in my career until that point to benefit a business that was for-profit, but balanced with purpose. I was inspired by Neighbourly being one of the UK’s founding B Corps, which makes me extremely proud, and I saw an opportunity to lead a company that could help much bigger businesses create happier, healthier and sustainable communities.
MB: What are the problems you are trying to solve?
SB: Businesses want to support local communities but there is no easy way for them to find the right causes to engage with locally, at scale, in an easy, safe and measurable way. The Neighbourly platform makes it easy for businesses to invest in local communities and support good causes so that their contribution is impactful, transparent and sustainable.
MB: What is your biggest challenge right now?
SB: We are fortunate enough to work with some incredible global brands and fantastic corporate partners, who would love for us to support them in the same way in all their international markets. We are running as fast as we can but we always want to go faster – it’s a high quality problem!
MB: What is your vision for the future of your business?
SB: I see Neighbourly as being the global community investment platform for business, helping companies address key components of their ESG agenda and building sustainable healthy communities that ensures everything else is able to function in society.
MB: What is your advice to other leaders who want to combine profit and purpose?
SB: It might not always be easy to balance the two, but it is the only way to ensure long term sustainable growth.
MB – What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
SB – If you don’t know where you’re going, you can’t get lost
MB – Who inspires you?
SB – My family.
MB – How do you define success?
SB – A feeling of contentment.
MB – What is something you wish you were better at?
SB – Speaking different languages.
MB – What is the one book everyone should read?
SB – “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho.
MB – What do you do to relax?
SB – I disappear into the great outdoors, with whoever wants to come with me.
Discover the other MB100 leaders recognised for their work combining profit and purpose to help achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in 2020, here.