A BUSINESS in the Highlands and Islands is advocating equality from the products it creates to the services it offers, right down to the pay for its staff.

Based in Grantown-on-Spey, Equal Adventure is a charity and developments company, with innovation and equality at the heart of its workings. Its ambition is to resource inclusive outdoor adventure sports for all. The company has embraced the Living Wage since its inception.

Founder, Suresh Paul, said: “Our job at Equal Adventure is to make it possible for disabled people to join in a whole range of sports and physical activities at a participant level. Valuing your staff and the work they do is vital to the success of any business and offering the Living Wage is one way of doing this. It helps create a stronger bond between a business and their workers and overall, I believe it to make for a more successful future.

“Our company ethos is all about creating fair opportunities, and we like to echo this mantra in all aspects of the business. We’re a team of about nine people with each member of staff providing something completely unique to the business from administration, mechanisms and graphics.

“Despite the varying roles we’ve gone against traditional business pay structures to create an equal pay pack from top to bottom – something we think creates a really solid sense of team spirit. Offering both equal pay and the living wage also helps to improve staff morale and ensures we’re committed to our work as a team. We also run a cloud-based business which means everything we do is online so staff are able to utilise a range of working styles to suit their needs wherever possible.”

The business was born when Suresh designed the world’s first climbing harness for disabled people back in 1995. Describing innovation as the “blood line” of the business, Suresh and his team have created crucial pieces of kit that those with additional needs now rely on to participate in many physical and outdoor sports.

Suresh said: “Our team work really hard to innovate new products and services for the business and we always want to credit this hard work by paying fairly. The beating heart of Equal Adventure is its customers and through utilising the Innovate Your Business service at Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) to secure a grant for a new adventure route. The commitment from the team to develop this idea is just one illustration of how the living wage can benefit a business and its staff.

“Innovating within a business can be challenging at times therefore it’s the responsibility of an employer to ensure that their workers efforts are credited fairly. Innovation isn’t something to be afraid of, it’s all around us, from the business models you adopt to the small changes you might make to your product to take it to the next level. Getting additional help through HIE’s expert advice and innovation services enables businesses like ours to grow and continue to push forward, evolve and develop new ideas and overall, reward our staff beyond the living wage”.

Since it was launched in April 2014, more than 1000 organisations in Scotland have registered as a living wage employer, a scheme that was created to ensure workers are paid more than the minimum wage.

Those interested in finding out how Highlands and Islands Enterprise helps support innovation can visit: www.hie.co.uk/hietime for more information.