Scottish Enterprise Awards 2023

To begin, Sarah tells us about their aim of the business: “We pride ourselves on being innovative in our ideas. It’s all about getting the best solution for the business which supports the needs of all their stakeholders. So, we help them find ways they can manage the needs of all their stakeholders equally – whether they are customers, employees, suppliers, or communities.” Speaking of the challenges which may arise within the sector, she continues: “This goes against the grain sometimes – it’s not how businesses have operated in the past – so it can something be a bit of a challenge and a juggling act. We have to go beyond the expected to build a solution that works for everyone, but the results speak for themselves.” There can be extended risks when it comes to social value, as the public sector relies on contracts being fulfilled and completed in a professional and transparent manner. Sarah says: “Social Value is now worth 10% of the marks in most public sector contracts so if you want to supply the public sector you must get this right. Everything we help our clients propose is fully costed and worked out to ensure it is something we know they can deliver.” Of course, without a business like Samtaler these risks are much higher. Sarah adds: “We often find that as Social Value becomes more embedded within an organisation, they look to employ their own Social Value team. We are there to support the new Social Value Director, help them to find their way through the maze that is Social Value. We work in the background providing the extra resource and pair of hands that they need to put together a strategic approach that will set the tone for the organisation and gain buy in at Board Level. “We also work closely with procurers to help them create clarity in what they are asking for from the Private Sector in their procurement bids. The ‘Community Benefits Wishlist’ initiative in Scotland that we completed has certainly driven more clarity locally.” With a drive to ‘Make Companies Better,’ Samtaler is “always asking the question, how do they, as a business, create value for all their stakeholders?” This allows businesses to think about the way they achieve their goals rather than simply focusing on profits, in order to increase the positive effects of Social Value. Sarah speaks about the secret behind Samtaler’s success: “The key to us staying ahead of the curve is our ability to see beyond the usual. We will dig into your business to find opportunities others may well not see; contracts with UK SMEs that you can leverage, with local community and voluntary groups that allow you fulfil your quotas and more. “Our team spend 20% of their time on research, training, and pro bono work for third sector organisations and micro businesses. Constantly learning is hugely important to us – which is why we invest in professional development of the staff. “Everyone who works with us has either worked in Government or Third Sector in some capacity. We understand the challenges that the Public Sector faces and what the Private Sector needs to do.” With regards to the future, Sarah is certainly enthusiastic about what is to come as there are plenty of ‘ideas and projects on the horizon.’ She adds: “We’re planning to grow our bid assessment service – which is where we score client’s answers before they submit them and help them find ways they can strengthen their offer. We’re also going to be doing more social value delivery and helping our customers develop the policies and procedures they need to embed Social Value into the organisation, making Social Value elements of bids even easier to deliver, and removing some of the risks that are involved with non-delivery of commitments. “Being our clients ‘Social Value Secret Weapon’ means that we are happy to integrate into the team and work in the background, allowing our Social Value colleagues to shine whatever service we provide.” Contact: Sarah Stone Email: Company: Samtaler (The Social Value Agency) Web Address: Working with large multinational organisations, Samtaler (The Social Value Agency) expertly supports its clients to push Social Values to the forefront. Its core beliefs are truly reflective of the entire team’s efforts to be more community oriented, environmentally sustainable, and supportive for the financial success of their clients. Here we learn more about Samtaler from Founder and Director Sarah Stone, as it wins its title in the Scottish Enterprise Awards 2023. Best Woman-Run Bid Writing & Social Procurement Consultancy 2023