May 142014

boardcircle non-executive director

When an SME executive takes a Non-Executive Director position on another SME board, not only does it benefit the individual and the board on which he or she sits as a NED, it also benefits the board on which they are an Executive Director – a true win-win-win situation.

That is the message from Boardcircle – a company dedicated to helping small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to benefit from having Non-Executive Directors on their boards.

non-executive directorKatherine Amery, Head of Operations at Boardcircle says that:

“Boardcircle provides a unique opportunity for small and medium sized companies to effectively ‘share’ directors, as non-executives. The non-exec positions are not salaried but aim to serve the professional development needs of directors; at the same time providing an independent director to help companies develop. ‘Sharing’ directors is not a straight swap, so Boardcircle works with companies to find the best fit. Companies join to promote someone as a non-executive and look for one. This encourages business leaders to develop executive skills in other organisations and creates opportunities for companies to experience a non-executive from a pool of talented professionals.”

non-executive directorBoardcircle was conceived by Martin Hawley, who has a passion for value-creating ideas, from his experience working in SMEs. He often found that the talented professionals he worked with at board level were closer to the mark than many professional advisors. Yet they could also be disadvantaged by being overly close and emotionally involved. Looking around the boardroom table Martin realised that his colleagues could add exceptional value to other boards, and in doing so develop their own skills as directors. Maybe some companies could share their directors as non-executives? And if this could be done at low cost it could revolutionise growing businesses, accelerating growth through better and more diverse governance.

This, in a nutshell, is the problem that Boardcircle are solving; SMEs, especially those with high growth potential, are often running with a very lean board that is focused on the day-to-day challenges of growing a business. They do not have time to stand back and take a longer term view, or reflect on what they are learning as they address each new business challenge – and they are more often than not unable to afford to pay for any external advice that they may need.

Boardcircle’s propostion is simple yet very effective – by creating pools of potential SME Non-Executive Directors in each locality they can offer:

  • NED opportunities for SME executives – giving them exposure to other business challenges and development of their skills to enable them to take the ‘helicopter view’ of a business
  • A cost-effective way for SMEs to benefit from having a Non-Executive Director on their board – someone who can be a ‘critical friend’ to the business
  • Development for the SME executive’s own board – bringing back the learning from the NED appointment to make their own boards more effective.

You can register your business for the Boardcircle program on-line at

For more information about how Boardcircle can help your business contact Katherine Amery or call 020 8144 7205