Board member news

Laura Tenison’s Home of Innovation lecture

Laura Tenison

I am delighted to say we launched our ‘Home of Innovation’ lecture series in great style with an excellent talk from Laura Tenison MBE, Managing Director of JoJo Maman Bébé.

A passion for innovation and ethical business shone through as Laura outlined her personal journey in a lecture entitled: ‘Doing well whilst doing good- ethical innovation and the ‘triple bottom line’.

Laura’s business began, in part, thanks to her parents. They allowed her to store clothes in their garden shed, and later their living room. The business grew into a factory in Newport, then two, and is now a global business with a gross turnover of £55M, 750 employees and more than 70 UK stores.

Ethics lies at the heart of the UK’s leading boutique mother and baby brand. Laura firmly believes – and the evidence shows – that businesses run as a force for good do better.

Around 100 guests at Cardiff Business School were told how Laura spends ‘more time than she probably should’ on Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR, from employing diverse teams to achieving B Corporation status – one of 120 UK companies which share the distinction of being recognised ethical businesses.

And Laura shared her insights into innovation across the company, telling us how bringing up her own children helped her develop new products, and how understanding the needs of mothers and children is key to understanding the market.

Laura’s work spans the globe. JoJo is building market share in the United States, and selling in 50 countries. A hands-on trustee of the company charity Nema Foundation, Laura works to help relieve child poverty in Mozambique – a goal which chimes well with our own Professor Judith Hall’s work to transform lives in Namibia.

We thanked Laura for a fantastic evening. I look forward to the next Home of innovation lecture in 2017 – and to more businesses joining Laura in putting people and the planet before profit.