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Digital Unity Corporation Business Plan

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Peter Reed-Forrester

on 30 October 2016

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Transcript of Digital Unity Corporation Business Plan

A Collaborative Business Plan For A New Digital Age
Strategy & Tactics
Strategic Objectives

Over a 3 year period from execution of this Business Plan, we will achieve the following:-

Through organic growth & acquisition, build & develop a group of companies & strategic partnerships that will enable Digital Unity to be a recognised market leader in the profitable provision of Digital Inclusion/Economy related Products , Services & Solutions that are intrinsically Socially Contributive covering:-
Low Cost/Free Internet Connectivity
Hyper-Local Web Sites & E-Services
Digital & Social Media Marketing Products & Services
Digital Inclusion Strategy Consultancy & Program Delivery
On-Line & Classroom Based Training & Education services
Specialist Recruitment & Resourcing Services
Financial Growth:-
Annual Revenue to £10m+
Annual GP to £8m+
Annual Net Profit to £3m+


Governance & Organization Structure
In the US model, Change Agent productions is the social enterprise arm of the Youth Institute and falls under the legal operations of the YMCA of Greater Long Beach. The model we will develop in Surrey BC will follow the same structure and fall under the legal operations of the YMCA of Greater Vancouver. Many authors acknowledge the SE world is changing and growing and this can make it challenging to understand the form or legal structure. Form is the foundation on which structure is built and effects governance, communication transparency, community support, taxation and use of capital (Lynch and Walls, 2009)
Market Review
Ten years ago social enterprise was considered
new and innovative but it has gained place in public policy and continually growing in market success (Enterprising Non-Profits, 2010). CAP was called to fill a market need by predominantly non-profit organizations in Greater LA as they sought affordable digital media services and a company that related directly to the social service paradigm. I see very similar potential for the CAP program in BC and we have established networks to connect with and build upon.
While a rigorous approach to market feasibility speaks to the TSL quality of careful stewardship I'm also considerate of the Peter Block statement referenced by DeGraaf (2007) encouraging me to be willing to
pursue what I define as important,
independent of whether it is in demand
or has market value.
Finance
& Risk
There are many opportunities created by the growing awareness of SE but Lynch and Walls (2009) provide an excellent reminder that my commitment to providing education and work opportunities for vulnerable youth is only the 'social' part of the equation. Of equal importance is a margin that defines the business as an 'enterprise'. It is also recognized that a business supporting a social need in the community such as work programs for vulnerable populations, often require additional grants and donations to support activities
(Enterprising Non-Profits, 2010). While I have
begun developing an outline of the financial
plan there is still a great deal of
work to do in this area.
References
Establishing
a Foundation
Who we are & What We do

Enterprising Non-Profits. (2010). The Canadian social enterprise guide 2nd edition. Retrieved from http://www.enterprisingnonprofits.ca/projects/the_guide.

Elkington, J., Braun, S. (2013). Breakthrough: Business leaders, market revolutions. London, UK: Volans Ventures LTD

Epps, D. (2011). Achieving “collective impact” with results-based accountability. Results Leadership Group. Retrieved from
http://tamarackcci.ca/files/rbi__collective_impact.pdf

Figliuolo, M. (2011). Let’s make leadership real again. Retrieved from
http://changethis.com/manifesto/show/94.04.RealLeadership#disqus_thread

Frankel, C., Bromberger, A. (2013). The art of social enterprise: Business as if people mattered. Gabriola Island, BC: New Society Publishers

Freelance Graphic Designers Resource. (2013). Website. http://www.freelancegraphicdesigner.info/index.php
Grant, H., Crutchfield, L. (2007). Creating high-impact non-profits. Stanford Social Innovation Review. Retrieved from https://courses.mytwu.ca/mod/resource/view.php?id=242718

Haskell, D., Haskell, J., Pottenger, J. (2012). Harnessing values for impact: Beyond profit in MENA. Palgrave Macmillan

Keohane, G. (2013). Social entrepreneurship for the 21st century: Innovation across the non-profit, private and public sector. USA: McGraw-Hill

Leviner, N., Crutchfield, L., Wells, D. (2007) Understanding the impact of social entrepreneurs: Ashoka’s answer to the challenge of measuring effectiveness. Retrieved from https://www.ashoka.org/resource/4784

Lynch, K., Walls, J. (2009). Mission, Inc: the practitioner’s guide to social enterprise. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler

Peterson, E. (2003) The Message Bible
Social Enterprise Works (2011). Developing your social enterprise idea. http://www.socialenterpriseworks.org/category/developing-your-social-enterprise-idea

Spear.R., Cornforth, C., Aitken, M. (2007). For love and money: Governance and social enterprise report. Retrieved from http://www3.open.ac.uk/events/7/2008128_38337_o1.pdf

Spears, L. A. (2002). Focus on Leadership: servant-leadership for the 21st century. New York: John Wiley and Sons, Inc.

Wheatley, M., Frieze, D. (2011). Walk out walk on: A learning journey into communities daring to live the future now. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.

YMCA of Greater Vancouver. (2011). Focus 20/20. Retrieved from http://www.vanymca.org/blog/wp-content/documents/focus2020_strategicplan.pdf
As the Managing Director and Founder of Digital Unity and the other companies & brands associated with it (including CommunityUK.net), something that has become very clear to me over many years in business is the tremendous value in investing time in building a firm foundation before leaping into any level of rapid business growth or development.

Good intentions and professional business planning & management alone are not sustainable. I believe that if you wish to create something that has the potential to be rapidly scaled up and have a transformational impact in the current world, a rigorous and collaborative approach is critical.

In our organisation(s), we believe that our behaviour as individuals and as a business needs to demonstrate a genuine desire and willingness to work with and contribute to others in order to establish an intrinsically strong foundation from which our business can grow in a manner that is genuinely sustainable and manageable because it fundamentally IS a real and contributing member of the society it operates within.

In recent years there have been many very clear signals showing that both our society and economy are undergoing a genuine sea change in thoughts, attitudes and approach.

Old ways of thinking are being thrown out and old rules ignored. Individuals, groups and whole communities are no longer willing to accept or support the traditional approach to business that has carried the UK along for centuries. The days of what is now increasingly seen as open corporate greed and obvious corporate societal exploitation appear to be coming to an end.

Consumers and businesses of all kinds are now actively looking to collaborate with and inform each other to ensure that they not only get the best they can in terms of value and quality but that the suppliers they are dealing with are also entirely ethical and actively giving something back to the communities they operate within. They are increasingly turning their backs on those that do not exhibit and practice these ethics and qualities,

Our belief is that the new digital age, the Internet, is at the heart of this change and is both its driving force and enabler.

Simply put, there is nowhere left to hide.

We recognise and welcome this shift and intend for our business to be at the very centre of this new world in the UK.


"
As global citizens, it seems that we are constantly confronted with a growing list of daunting challenges to our survival as a species and to our planet. It has become apparent to many that we can't do it alone; we've got to work together to meet the challenges head on."

Andrew Borg - Research Director of Aberdeen group in "Why Enterprise Social Collaboration Means Business" Information Week 2013 - http://goo.gl/MerSo4
Unity is strength... when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved. Mattie Stepanek
Change Agent Productions (CAP) is a successful US social enterprise that has been developed from a YMCA program called Youth Institute, initiated by Bob Cabeza from Longbeach CA. Working with key stakeholders I wish to establish the first program in Canada and use this as a starting point for our youth to develop diverse knowledge and skills. In so doing we will provide access to a variety of meaningful business and employment opportunities. This will be a program aimed at vulnerable youth and apply a strength-based approach where we will not consider those we serve as "youth-at-risk" but rather "youth at potential".
The program will be established as a training and ultimately business arm of the YMCA. It will seek to meet a triple bottom-line, ensuring it becomes financially sustainable, makes a transformational social impact and reduces environmental impact (Enterprising Non-Profits, 2010). The business plan is modeled on a collaborative approach which offers an opportunity to balance and complement the competitive approach of many enterprises (Haskell, Haskell and Pottenger, 2010). Mentoring and community engagement will be crucial to the success of this project and therefore relationship building will be a focus of our work.
Beatty, B. (2014). Leadership of enterprises and social purpose business . Trinity Western University. Weekly Lectures

Block, P. (2003). The answer to how is yes: Acting on what matters. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler. http://www.amazon.com/The-Answer-How-Is-Yes/dp/1576752712

DeGraaf, D. (2007). From Servant Leadership to Social Entrepreneurship:
Becoming Hopeful Travelers. Retrieved from https://courses.mytwu.ca/file.php/24959/654N_2014/Week_2/DeGraaf07_SL_to_SE.pdf

Drayton, Bill. (2007). Knowing history, serving it: Ashoka's theory of change. Retrieved from http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=980092

Drayton, Bill. (2011). Collaborative entrepreneurship: How social entrepreneurs have learned
to tip the world by working in global teams. Retrieved from https://www.ashoka.org/resource/collaborative-entrepreneurship-how-social-entrepreneurs-have-learned-tip-world-working-glob

Demonstrating Value web site (2013) Retrieved from http://www.demonstratingvalue.org/tags/vancity-community-foundation
A true change agent, well-respected poet and peace activist, Mattie J.T. Stepanek lived a life that was brief in length but powerfully blessed with depth. Born on July 17, 1990, Mattie began creating and sharing Heartsongs at the young age of 3. He explained that Heartsongs are “gifts that reflect each person’s unique reason for being.”

Mattie ultimately published six collections of his Heartsongs poetry books and one collection of Just Peace essays and e-mail correspondence between Mattie and Former President Jimmy Carter. All seven of Mattie’s books became New York Times Bestsellers and touched millions of lives around the world.

He died on June 22, 2004 due to complications
of Dysautonomic Mitochondrial Myopathy.
www.mattieonline.com
The SE will begin with a significant training component in digital media for vulnerable, high-school age youth. Community partners are being sought for initial support of technology equipment and staffing fees. Once youth have developed their ability to a professional level, they will begin to seek paid contracts. The goal of this SE is the engagement of youth experiencing limited future opportunities across the Lower Mainland, in an inspiring learning environment. The results we desire for participants are an ongoing connection to education and the establishment of work opportunities.
Youth and community partners will be involved in all aspects, from helping provide direction to the development of ongoing measurements that matter most. We will rigorously gather quantitative and qualitative evidence to track progress (Keohane, 2013). In our efforts to build towards a large-scale social change we will combine advocacy for youth in tandem with high quality programs. In serving and advocating we will have the potential to engage a broader base of community leaders and achieve a greater social impact (Grant and Crutchfield, 2007).
It is in our hearts and souls that we find our most profound thoughts and inspiration: the thoughts and inspirations that drive the social value we create. The rest, while very important, is built upon that foundation.
(Beatty, 2014)
Impact
Measures
Heart of
What Matters
and
Analysis indicates that integration of values can
fuel participation, invite engagement, sustain commitment, foster leadership, multiply returns and transform community
(Haskell, Haskell &
Pottenger, 2012)
Since our organisation first became involved in the Leigh Park Free WiFi project in 2008, we have been working and collaborating with a diverse range of individuals and organisations to develop and deliver a strategic plan for Digital Inclusion in the UK.

One of the most important processes we have undertaken has been to carefully examine what we wished to achieve for both our business, the communities it operates within and the UK as a whole. Investing time and being very intentional about asking the right questions focused on the 'what' rather than the 'how' (Block, 2003) we developed the following end goal: -

"To become the UK’s accepted leader in the provision of comprehensive, collaborative and integrated Digital Inclusion Solutions and Services to individuals, communities and businesses and, in doing so, to become an exemplar of how a business operating in the new Digital Economy can be highly successful, profitable
and
socially contributive.”

While this is the goal it is also the vision that will inform our decisions and actions over the coming years.

When thinking about & discussing the potential in this statement, we have found ourselves experiencing the goose bumps that Mike Figliuolo in "Let's Make Leadership Real Again" (2011) suggests is a necessary indicator of a vision being compelling enough to guide and shape behaviour.

In sharing our thoughts about athis vision, we believe that whilst it expresses a view of what we ultimately want to achieve as an organisation, we are unlikely to be successful on our own. Again, collaboration is critical.

Research strongly indicates that the deliberate integration of values in our work plays a significant role in human development and business outcomes (Haskell et al. 2012).

However, the term value is often tied to a monetary measure—what something is worth in Pounds and Pence. Fiscal value is a moving target however, changing with the ebb and flow of the fickle UK and indeed global economy. Where a business owner should focus more time & effort is not in the value, but the values of his or her company, which are concrete and should change very little over time.

The values of an organisation come from the founders. They are there from the very beginning, influencing the building blocks of vision, people and systems. The core values must not only be accepted but also truly believed by all other top-level executives so it becomes ingrained in each and every employee.

Values are relatively static. Who you are as a person doesn't change radically, for most, and who your company is shouldn't either. As a company evolves so will its core values. These changes should be a fine-tuning rather than a complete overhaul.

Digital Unity's core values are concrete. They are not just not touchy-feely platitudes, but actionable attributes. We regularly discuss our core values in terms of business decisions, processes and systems.

To sustain this ethos we intend, as the company grows, to institute a reward program aimed at recognising employees who exhibit our core values in their daily course of business. Given the diversity of the values and activities, that will not be an easy task but one we will take on and achieve.

Below are our core values with abbreviated definitions: -

Spear, Conforth and Aitken (2007) discovered a variety of challenges faced by social entrepreneurs when researching governance and provided valuable suggestions to take into consideration -:

- Seek good legal advice
- Carefully recruit board members with the right skills
- Be careful of 'mission drift' and balance social and business goals
- Watch for 'founder syndrome' where board members find it difficult to be unbiased and establish accountability
- Have a plan for managing the competing interests of stakeholders
- Ensure clear roles between board and staff
- Have clear expectations for time commitment to trainings, meetings etc for board members
- Engage senior managers in communication with the board
- As a smaller SE it is challenging but important to distinguish between governance, management and operations

How does this inform my governance planning?
The YMCA has a successful and highly committed team providing governance, providing a great place to seek guidance

Through Rotary I have developed relationships with a number of community leaders with experience in law, finance and creating enterprises, who could become potential board members

I will work with board members to develop a team charter at the very beginning to help establish clear boundaries

We will establish written procedures to help inform communication and roles between stakeholders - staff, funders, suppliers etc

A neutral team will assist with interviews and board selection that includes at least one or two youth and community partners

Challenging decisions will be tested through a rigorous process that is always informed by the goal for social transformation
STAFF STRUCTURE
Greater Vancouver
Open Position, Senior Art Director
Youth Engagement Leader
Staff member with training and expertise working with vulnerable youth, connecting participants to mentors, support services, work
and education opportunities.
Vinh Truong, General Manager
Community Development

Craig Sheather, Vice President of Community Development
Digital Media Artist
Experienced adult who will work directly with youth participants on a daily basis. This position to be filled by program alumni in the long term.
Darren Mumford,
Manager
Community Development
Establish Youth Institute and Change Agent productions in BC through a collaborative,
relationship building approach with all
stakeholders. Provide ongoing
oversight of the program.
Liaise with Association board members and YMCA Canada to guide SE form and structure.
Assist with establishment of CAP board and
confirming funding support.
Educated and experienced professional in a diverse use of digital media technology to provide program
and purchase guidance.
Leadership support to assist with budget and staff oversight and support scaling up work opportunities for youth.
Governing
Board
Provide oversight and establish accountability for the CAP social business, contributing expertise and assisting with
scaling of the program.
Technology Youth
Leader
As youth gain experience they will be mentored to take leadership roles with peers and new participants. This will be part of a succession plan to become senior staff in Youth Institute,
CAP and other organizations.
Artistic
Youth
Leader
Teamwork Youth Leader
As youth gain experience they will be mentored to take leadership roles with peers and new participants. This will be part of a succession plan to become senior staff in Youth Institute,
CAP and other organizations.
Youth
Staff
As youth develop their skills and leadership through the Youth Institute program they will apply for or be selected to participate in paid digital media projects and/or staffing roles in YMCA and partner programs. This may also include recreation leadership roles with children.
Youth
Staff
As youth develop their skills and leadership through the Youth Institute program they will apply for or be selected to participate in paid digital media projects and/or staffing roles in YMCA and partner programs. This may also include recreation leadership roles with children.
The organizational structure for CAP in our community will be guided by the learning from the Long Beach YMCA Association and our specific needs and goals. Succession planning and intensive development of students for leading roles in the organization will be a key focus. Youth leaders engaging with board members and senior leaders will be an additional focus in our structure.
As youth gain experience they will be mentored to take leadership roles with peers and new participants. This will be part of a succession plan to become senior staff in Youth Institute,
CAP and other organizations.
In their US locations CAP has completed digital media service for many non-profit organizations and academic institutions and they are slowly developing a connection with corporate clients. The YMCA of Greater Vancouver has developed direct relationships with more than 70 businesses and non-profit organizations through our many community services in the Lower Mainland and each of these would be potential clients. Particularly in Surrey where we have developed very strong ties to large and small organizations, I believe there would be many 'evangelists' inspired to champion CAP and recruit others in a demonstration of viral marketing at it's finest (McLeod and Crutchfield, 2007). Additionally, support for ensuring high quality production will be provided by our YMCA Marketing and Communications team as well as local universities such as Kwantlen and/or SFU.
Competition - While pricing from digital media agencies is difficult to find and requires further investigation, costs of $10 000 and up seem realistic for full marketing videos, graphic design and websites. Many agencies based in Vancouver such as 6S Marketing, Snaptech Marketing and FCV require a minimum amount of business aimed more towards large corporate clients. Smaller businesses and non-profits will often use freelance designers and someone with standard professional training will charge $75 - $150 per hour (Freelance Graphic Designers Resource, 2013). As there are frequent changes required, costs can quickly add up and CAP has the advantage speaking the same language as social purpose organizations.
Social Enterprise Works (2011) recommends a SWOT analysis as part of the marketing plan. The following is an initial evaluation for the CAP project planned to be located in Surrey, BC.
Strengths
- Support and Learning from CAP running in LA
- YMCA of Greater Vancouver is a strong and well respected organization
- Established partnerships with broad base of local experts for support

Weaknesses
- Still require significant funding for staffing to establish initial Youth Institute program to train participants
- Program location is not easily accessed by public transport for youth
- Fewer digital tech companies to partner with than US based enterprise

Opportunities
- Established network of potential funding, program supporters and future clients- Rotary, ODD Squad (Police production company), School District, City of Surrey, Universities and numerous local organizations

Threats
- Potential to become less adaptive to local needs by attempting to replicate US programs
- Rapid changes in technology making upgrading costs prohibitive
- Staff turnover in social purpose work particularly challenging for this work
Having worked with the Director of the CAP program in LA and our own YMCA Manager of IT I developed the budget above for a first year start up of the Youth Institute training program to prepare 25 youth to start a CAP project. Semiahmoo Rotary Club has already committed to funding the purchase of the initial equipment, the YMCA, Semiahmoo Arts and SD 36 are applying for additional funding and the Consulting and Support package from the Long Beach Youth Institute is a one off start-up cost.
In their document for Volans Ventures Elkington and Braun (2013) state that finance is the heart of our modern economy and the shock waves that hit one after the other is 2007 were like a cardiac arrest. They suggest a finance breakthrough referred to as positive externalities where the social, environmental and financial crises calls for bold solutions. They provide the example from Michael Liebreich, CEO of Bloomberg New Energy Finance who suggests,“going into 2013 we are way ahead of where I thought we would be in 2004,” in reference to a renewable energy report. They also preset innovative ventures like is Mosaic, which allows ordinary citizens to invest in solar power projects.
The financial plan for CAP also needs to be bold and innovative, looking at unique ways to meet the desired triple bottom line. Using a Collective Impact approach we will seek to establish the clear, common and measurable results required to maintain partnerships and turn the curve on the social outcomes we desire (Epps, 2013). In her presentation Epps provides the Results-Based Accountability (RBA) framework, including the call for no or low-cost programs. For CAP to meet the needs of vulnerable youth the program requires free access and therefore the support of an effective collaboration of partners to be sustainable and grow. A common understanding of the financial plan must be established through transparent financial communication with partners. We are now at a stage where the support of foundations and community minded financial institutions such as VanCity will be critical to the establishment of a successful program.
I'm not a coffee drinker but I like this analogy for my social enterprise work. As the barista I must carefully invest my time in preparing (brewing) my social purpose business, understanding many people contribute to the work. Once careful preparation has been completed the service is provided for the community to engage in (taste). The quality of the work is evidenced in the impact (flavour) but I will only learn and grow in my ability if I develop meaningful measurement of my impact.
The measurement must be more than just the number of coffee's served where corporations like Target will report on the amount of money given away and who it went to, only giving part of the picture. CAP must evaluate blended metrics, taking into account both the financial and social impact of the work (Lynch and Walls, 2009). Patty (2013) provides two critical reasons to invest in measuring the impact of our social service. The first is the need to prove that our work is leading to transformation as this is how people will be inspired to collaborate and support the work, engaging heads, hearts and hands. The second reason for quality measurement tools is the requirement to improve and continually become more effective in our service. The TSL role models who are scaling up their enterprises to have broad and deep impact on social change, continually strive to learn, adapt, grow and lead increasingly significant change. My desire is to continually improve the way I work with others, brewing and serving the best product we can, for the best possible outcomes.
Coincidentally, in my research I discovered PCRS provide an employment program for
vulnerable youth to become baristas - http://www.pcrs.ca/baristas
The field of measurement is very broad and as a collaborator I do not have all the answers. I believe creating tools that measure what matters requires people working together to create evaluations and software for assessing our impact and sharing our story. I also believe a critical skill for a TSL is the ability to ask the right questions and based on my learning about measurement I created a table that will guide the development of evaluation tools for CAP. I would like to see the measures developed from this table being presented in a dashboard display, using the concepts from leading organizations such as Demonstrating Value (2014).

CAP will also work collaboratively with the following people and organizations to ensure the development of tools that measure what matters most -:
- Kwantlen Polytechnic and Simon Fraser (Surrey) University - Student researchers and possibly professors who can lead program research (currently used very effectively by the Long Beach CAP enterprise with their local University)
- Bill Beatty and Steve Patty - Local experts in results measurement who can provide feedback and guidance
- VanCity, Tamarack Institute and other organizations who have spent many years developing and working with measurement tools based around paradigms I wish to follow such as Results-Based Accountability and Collective Impact.
Adapting a statement made in regard to fishing for the purpose of my coffee analogy, a social entrepreneur is not content with giving a cup of coffee or teaching how to make a cup of coffee; they won't rest until they've revolutionized the whole coffee making industry (Leviner, Crutchfield and Wells, 2007). Leviner et al continue with a discussion of scale and suggest a social entrepreneur is not someone who launches a single charter school but someone who creates a network of schools to transform the existing system. Creating this type of impact will require meaningful measurement for CAP to have an influence at the local, provincial and eventually national level. This is a call for measuring how systems have been changed and speaks to the transformation for an entire group of people, in my case vulnerable youth struggling to engage in education and work.
Measuring the impact of our work will be built into our CAP system to ensure it is not forgotten in the day to day tasks (Lynch and Walls, 2009). From the outset we will network with local experts and universities to establish a foundation of measures from which to build upon. Program plans will include time for qualitative and quantitative evaluation, budgets will include productivity ratios etc. and social metrics will be shared and celebrated both internally and externally. Taking a collaborative approach we will also engage the youth in helping to develop measurement tools and sharing their stories of transformation.
As a result of the world being run by a few people for thousands of years, it is difficult for people to imagine anything different but the acceleration of change is demanding a new model (Drayton, 2011). Social entrepreneurs are critical to a world where everyone can become a 'change agent'. I see my role and that of a social purpose business like CAP as an opportunity to engage and empower people and results show this change is occurring. Drayton (2011) informs us 50 percent of Ashoka fellows have changed national policy within five years of launching and suggests every teen must become a change agent through opportunities to develop empathy, teamwork, leadership and change making. These skills align directly with the characteristics of a servant leader. The development of change agents among all stakeholders, participants, staff, volunteers, partners and community members will be at the heart of CAP.
As a true test of servant-leadership Spears (2002) suggests asking, "have those served grown, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous?" At the core of CAP and any social enterprise I engage in, this will define our impact, the transformation of others, empowering them to take up the challenge of servant leadership.
Passion
: Our business is about delivering best of breed solutions and services to our customers and real value to our communities. We will continually strive to be the best at what we choose to do.
Honesty & Integrity
: To be trusted & valued by all who engage with us, we will always maintain the highest levels of Honesty & Integrity in everything we do.
Social Value:
We will constantly seek to generate real social value by supporting & contributing to the growth, development & success of the society we operate within.
Innovation:
Built upon entrepreneurial values & operating in an "Innovation Age", we believe everything can be innovated.
Strategically Driven/Tactically Agile:
We will not only plan carefully for the future but we will also ensure we are able to adjust rapidly and assertively when that future changes
Adaptable & Flexible:
We are eager to embrace change and will ensure we are always able to adapt to changing situations and environments
Collaboration:
We always seek initiate and develop long lasting, win-win relationships with our Customers, Suppliers, Business Partners and Peers.
Value Everyone:
We are the sum of all our parts and those parts include all of those we work with and for.
Sustainable:
We are an organisation that is socially and environmentally responsible. We embrace innovation, creativity and diversity and in doing so, are financially rewarding for our employees and shareholders.
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We intend to be one of the prime leaders of the creation of an entirely new and vibrant "Digital Community & Business Ecosystem" that will enable the UK and the communities within it to become fully "Digitally Included" and therefore able to both lead and take full advantage of all that this new digital world and economy has to offer. As such, as an organisation, the bedrock of ideology that we have successfully built upon is this.

Whilst neither a charity nor a social enterprise, we are inextricably linked with the society we operate within and we hold real responsibility for its wellbeing and development at all levels.

Therefore we must ensure that every aspect of our business activity takes this into account and delivers a real and accountable "Social Return" to those individuals, communities and businesses who invest in us by purchasing our products and services.

By simply conducting our day-to-day business, we will be delivering that return.

It is common knowledge that over the past decade many organisations have, often cynically, sought to engage in "Corporate Social Responsibility" (CSR) activities. In fact, it has become pretty much a "must have" PR badge to have nowadays, with many organisations devoting huge sums and resources to it. Let's face it, even Coca Cola spent multiple millions on the purchase of Innocent, which basically represented an "off the shelf" CSR friendly badge for their company.

For our company, it's not about "doing" CSR. It’s about “being" CSR.

We firmly believe that there is nothing wrong in generating revenue, profits and indeed wealth, as long the methods you employ are entirely honourable, ethical and genuinely deliver something back to society at every step. It shouldn't take a rocket scientist to see that this approach actually is the most profitable and sustainable way to conduct and build a business in this day and age.

We intend for this organisation to be a leading example of how this can be achieved in the UK.

In taking this approach, we believe that we will not only bring benefit to the communities we operate within and the people we ultimately serve, but we will also be establishing an unshakeable, ethical foundation to grow and develop our business sustainably and very profitably upon in the future.

Welcome to Digital Unity – The new way forward.

Peter Reed-Forrester
Founder & Managing Director of CommunityUK & The Digital Unity Corporation



Every Business Plan must have a clear and definable set of strategic goals. They enable us to see & set direction and policies, drive alignment, simplify decision making and much more. However, just as a ship navigating an ocean needs "Waypoints" to keep it on course, a business needs "Tactical Goals" to be achieved along the way to ensure the Strategic Objective is finally met.
Tactical Goals

In order to ensure the organisation follows its planned path and achieves its Strategic Objectives, the following Tactical Goals will need to be met along the way.
Year 1, Q1
Confirm & Implement an innovative organisational structure to facilitate the operation of a "Business Ecosystem" that maximises opportunity, profitability, collaboration and social return
A Brief History
The Beginning
In 2008, 5miles Communications Ltd was formed to develop wireless networks and telephony services in West Sussex. The following year they approached a group of schools in Leigh Park, Hampshire, with proposals to obtain funding from the e-Learning Foundation to create a WiFi Broadband Network offering a free 2mb Internet service to cover the estate.
The schools readily accepted the proposition and, with the support of Hampshire County Council and Havant Borough Council, the grant was made and the project commenced in early 2009.
As the project gathered momentum, on-going sustainability was increasingly looked at and, as a result, the concept of a “Hyperlocal Community Web Portal” started to develop. As a direct result of this our "Community Networking" concept was born and CommunityUK.net Ltd. and the CommunityUK brand was registered in July 2009.
2009-2010 In order to enable CommunityUK to focus on the delivery of this new project in Leigh Park and beyond, the owners/directors of both companies decided on a parting of the ways with 5miles to concentrate on its’ own business plans in West Sussex.
The Original CommunityUK "Concept Video" - 2010
An overview
The Digital Unity Corporation is the result of a natural evolution that started in 2008 with the creation of CommunityUK.net Ltd.

CommunityUK.net is the founder of "Community Networking" on the Internet and the organisation behind a major Digital Inclusion initiative rolling out across the UK, providing FREE High Speed WiFi Broadband services, innovative "Community Networking" Web Portals and the unique "Going All Inclusive" Digital Inclusion program to thousands of Homes and individuals in Communities, Municipal, Retail, Sports and Social Venues across the UK.

Now the organisation is about to udergo a major restructuring & "Brand Enhancement" exercise to enable the build and deployment of a unique, market leading, digitally oriented business Ecosystem across the UK.
Connecting & Engaging Communities
On-Line & Virtual Learning
Local Lifestyle, News & Events
Careers & Employment
Local/Central Government Tools, Info & Links
Digital Inclusion Training
Housing Provider Content &
Functionality
Discount Vouchers
Business Directory
Classified Advertising
Community (Social) Networking
Community Groups
Digital Advertising
Business e-Marketing Tools
Community Q&A
Partner Content & Functionality
Providing centralised strategic direction, control & corporate services
Digital Connectivity for People & Business
connect, engage, deliver
The Future
delivering digital inclusion
teaching digital britain
specialist digital skills recruitment
For Social Housing
For Public Sector
digital technology products & services
supporting the uk's digital development
Full transcript