Virgin Unite set up the Action Network earlier this year with the aim of changing business for good. Lara Sengupta, founder of CorkYogis, agreed with the philosophy and took part in the People Challenge. Here she tells us all about why she wanted to be part of the project and how it helped her business.
CorkYogis, is a new ethical company creating huge changes worldwide though the practice of yoga. Our natural, non-slip cork yoga mats allow you to be one step closer to nature and every purchase also supports vulnerable women worldwide.
We work with a charity in Kolkata, India, who rescue young girls from a life of sex slavery and forced prostitution. We help them find hope and dignified employment by teaching them skills and providing education. We also employ the women to make our beautiful yoga bags, handmade from 100% recycled sari. For every yoga mat sold, one woman learns a skill. For every yoga bag sold, a woman earns one week of wages.
I found out about the Action Network through Virgin StartUp as I had received a business loan through them. I am not a business person in the typical sense, but I have always been inspired and driven by charity and change, so the Action Network’s aim to change business for good was a perfect fit for me.
I had an idea of what I wanted to achieve with the business in terms of using yoga to unite women and make changes in the developing world, but I had never put it down on paper. The Action Network’s core values exercise helped me implement my ideas into our business.
Since completing the People Challenge, we have changed the way we are talking to each other and the way we talk to customers. Communication is key, especially in a story-led business and we want people to connect with our story and our passion and join us on our journey.
Through the Action Network, I learnt how important it is to have everyone in the team on the same page. Your business is only as powerful and passionate as the group dynamics. It is important to really care about each other’s ideas and views and not just have a task-led team.
It made me think differently about how to expand our team. We are looking for the most creative, most passionate and the best leaders to help us expand and reach more people with our business. And for that we need to create the right environment for people to work in. The more value we can offer and bring to the world, the faster we are going to grow and develop.
We are looking at ways to expand the way we implement our core values. We want to think more creatively about how to bring our values to our supporters and how to integrate them into every part of our team.
Next year is all about getting the word out there and being able to reach as many people as possible! I have the crazy idea of buying a house-boat and sailing across the country offering CorkYogis free yoga classes and spreading the word of how we are implementing yoga activism in our business, uniting and empowering people worldwide. It would be amazing to personally share our story in every city and town in the UK.
For more on Virgin Unite’s Action Network, visit here.