Durham based employee-owned business UMi has become one of the first North East companies to become a certified B Corporation, joining a select group of pioneering businesses leading the way on social and environmental performance.

Founded in 2007 to make it easier for businesses to do more and go further, UMi has helped around 500,000 SMEs continue to thrive, leveraging over £650m of private sector investment and facilitating contract wins of over £30m.

The B Corp accreditation comes at a crucial time for UMi as it galvanises its partners and experts to help address the cost of trading crisis. UMi is taking the hard work out of finding the best advice, tools and resources needed to survive in the market as businesses become heavily impacted by factors including skills shortages, high inflation and rising interest rates.

The company was evaluated on more than 200 criteria across five categories including governance, environment, workers, community and customers; far exceeding the benchmark rating of 80 required to achieve B Corp status and receiving a high rating of 121.

Nicki Clark OBE, Chief Executive of UMi said: “Since our inception we have been focused on the difference we make as a business, not just how financially successful we are.  Achieving B Corp status gives us the external validation that we are a business committed to our purpose and putting people and planet in equal importance with profit.

“I’m really looking forward to meeting more of our fellow B Corps and playing our part in encouraging more and more businesses to get involved in whatever way they can.

UMi joins a group of just over 1,000 organisations in 57 sectors across the UK in becoming B Corp certified and is the first North East company to be certified in the business support industry.

Globally, there are now more than 5,800 B Corps employing around 470,000 people in 85 countries.