Saving 1.5-million people from of poverty by 2020 might sound like an extraordinary ambition, but for Allan English, the founder and Executive Chairman of hospitality equipment funding business Silver Chef, it is a task that is already well on track. The entrepreneur and philanthropist has instilled a purpose-driven culture among his staff at Silver Chef.
Through a partnership with Opportunity International Australia and his own English Family Foundation, has already managed to help more than 675,000 people out of the poverty cycle.
“The original goal was to get one-million people out of poverty, and we set that back in 2010,” Allan explains. “I asked our leadership team to outline a vision about what the company was going to be like by the year 2020, and they came back with a whole lot of key ratios, numbers, and targets. Then I put on my hat as the shareholder of the foundation and asked, ‘What social impact could we make if we were able to achieve those goals?’ And that’s when we came up with the original goal of one-million people out of poverty by 2020. We launched that, and within 18 months staff were saying that they wanted to be actively involved, too, and asked for the goal to be raised to 1.5 million.”
Allan’s interest in charitable work picked up in 2000 when Silver Chef and its Rent-Try-Buy concept (businesses try out equipment before they purchase) was achieving success, although it was still having difficulty raising necessary capital. “It was going really well,” Allan notes, “but I had been operating for 15 years and I wasn’t into big boats or cars. I didn’t know the reason why I was trying to make more money. And because I couldn’t come up with an answer, I started wandering off and doing some volunteering.”