Tag Archives: entrepreneurship

Innovation and Impact: Taking Your Organization 10x: Lessons from the Indian Approach to CSR

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The Sustainability Platform team, in partnership with PeoplePro Trainers and Consultants, held the first of what is shaping out to be a series of workshops on how to take your impact 10x. While we have done the same workshop around the world, this is the first time we did in front of an audience of Indian CSR practitioners. Here are some of the lessons we have learned along the way:

The Challenges Are Global, The Solutions Are Local

Wherever in the world you work, if you are an impact-driven organization looking to create change in the Bottom of the Pyramid (BOP) markets, chances are you will come across a similar set of challenges. Lack of trust, an inadequate infrastructure, high barriers to entry and lack of relevant policies often times hinder the CSR efforts. While these challenges are global, the most successful initiatives are the ones that focus on local solutions. This includes building long-term relationships with the communities; hand in hand cooperation with government bodies and a “long game” approach to impact. That might mean the shared value will take longer to be created, but the solid foundation will increase the impact 10x.

Creating an Ecosystem is a Priority

The key to sustainable social change is creating an ecosystem involving all the relevant players. This includes academia, public and private sectors, beneficiaries and non-governmental organizations. A dialogue between all the stakeholders is necessary to ensure no backtracking is happening and proper strategies are in place. Lack of communication and the exchange of ideas is an issue in many parts of the world and have severe effects of the end beneficiary and as such need to be addressed as soon as possible. Indian CSR practitioners are very open to collaboration, and proper channels need to be in place to facilitate the conversation.

Funding Remains an Issue

The Sustainability Platform firmly believes that the future of CSR budgets is impact investing. Many NGO and social enterprise managers bring up a lack of corporate funding as one of the biggest obstacles in reaching their end goal and scaling their operations. On the flip side, many CSR managers do not know how to deploy their funds to ensure maximum impact. That gap can easily be bridged if we start looking at CSR programs as impact funds that are aligned with the overall strategy of the company. The global case studies prove this to be a viable concept and hopefully we will be seeing a lot more of this approach in the Indian (and Middle Eastern) markets.

Don’t Do Things for Free

The CSR team has a great program or a product that the BOP market really needs and they are very excited about it until they realize no one from the community has signed up for it or seems to be interested in it. Their first response is to start adding on perks, from a free meal and transport to employment possibilities. And yet, the results seem to be really low. It has been proven over and over again that, in order to ensure your customer takes your service seriously, there needs to be cost attached to it. From malaria nets in Sub-Saharan Africa to vocational trainings in India, the most successful strategies are the ones that empower the beneficiaries to make the choice by paying for it. This psychological trick works in all cultures and markets, the only thing to be mindful of is finding the right pricing strategy. That way you ensure commitment and instill a sense of pride.

 

To know more about our executive workshop series contact us at info@sustainabilityplatform.org

To know more about our partners PeoplePro visit http://www.peopleprointl.com/

The Global Reach of Enterprise

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Written by Alam Zia

Globalisation is an underlying trend that has been taking the world by storm for the past fifty years. This trend refers to the ever-growing connectedness between people across the world wether it be socially, politically or economically. As I am a nineteen year old undergraduate one could assume my attention centers social and political concerns. Such as, my dissipating nationalism or the conceivable election of a reality television host. On the contrary, as a hopeful entrepreneur, I dwell on the economic factors of globalisation.

Modern technology has given ease to the conduct of trade and through that has given rise to Multinational Corporations (MNCs). In 1996 the top hundred MNCs were responsible for a third of trade in the entire worlds market[1]. The same hundred corporations also owned a quarter of all stock of foreign direct investment (FDI)[2]. These numbers are undoubtedly increasing and prove that large corporations are no longer concerned with domestic domination but are pursing to encompass the global market.

These companies have great power and with that they must have a great sense of responsibility as well, right? Most do, and thereby display programs of corporate social responsibility on their illustrious websites. But that has been shown, in the past and present, to be a veil for some select MNC’s such as Volkswagen. CSR programs encounter the dilemma of implementing characteristics like sustainable operations but lack to create initiatives for real positive change.

This is where social enterprise comes in, for me, for substantial causes and for the future. Social enterprises bridge the gap between businesses and societal issues by using non-traditional models. Doing good and being profitable is the ultimate goal. The aforementioned economic globalisation will also have an effect on this ever-growing sector. Expert in MENA, Soushiant Zanganehpour, believes that:

“The fundamental values of social entrepreneurship [will] become incorporated into  mainstream business practice. The implications of this for large businesses and brands will  vary; some may see it as a threat while others will see this as an opportunity to reinvent themselves to redefine purpose, responsibility and expectations in order to build loyalty with a new emerging consumer demographic.”

The emerging populace he refers to is the millennials and inferably the upcoming workforce of Generation Z (those born in 1995-2000’s). Social enterprise challenges the norms instilled by major corporations and forwards fluidity that is paralleled to the factors of economic globalisation. My opinion, based on the content above, is that corporations have a duty to not only preserve our fragile world but to also enhance it. Wether it’s targeting environmental or societal issues on a global or a local scale there is a need for action. Of course this is easier said than done but hundreds of attempts to do good and falling short are better than not trying at all.

 

[1]  G. Shangquan, ‘Economic Globalization: Trends, Risks and Risk Prevention’, (2000), (http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/policy/cdp/cdp_background_papers/bp2000_1.pdf), Date Accessed: Jun 28 2016

[2]  J. Stopford, ‘Multinational Corporations’, (1998), pp. 1-3 (http://online.sfsu.edu/jgmoss/PDF/635_pdf/No_22_Stopford.pdf), Date accessed: Jun 29 2016

Coming Up: Making Every Business a Social Business

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Join us on May 3rd at AstroLabs for a free session on how to make every business a social business!

Sign up here: http://www.meetup.com/Social-Entrepreneurship-Meetup/events/230785302/?rv=ea1

 

josh astrolabs

The Introduction to Social Business: Making every Business a Social Business is designed for non-social entrepreneurs looking to create impact through their businesses.

Over the course of 90 minutes the facilitators will cover the teachings and basic principles of social businesses, using real world examples of highly impactful businesses.

This workshop is aimed at startups in all fields, entrepreneurs at all stages and anyone curious about the best practices in the social impact world.

Watch your STEP & Top Tech companies to watch out for in MENA

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Written by Aya Sadder - Expecting to grow to 8,000 people in 2017, Ray Dargham – Founder of STEP Group, announced as he welcomed 4,000+ through the doors at Dubai International Marine Club this April. With the wave of startups, speakers, incubators, angels and VC’s exhibiting at STEP, the crowd seemed to want more. It’s a good thing there’s still 2017.

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While most of the startups have come to exhibit their hard work over the course of weeks, months and some even a few years, and yet expectations are as high as the cost of the tickets and every minute echoes the sound of excitement, mixed with fear, sweat and competition. Albeit all of this, there was still one big discussion that was on the tongue of all the startups: the need for funding. VC’s like LEAP Ventures & MEVP among others took to the stage pieces of advice that would help startups remain successful in a highly condensed market like the UAE. Tena Pick, Head of Advisory at VentureFin, stated that “a good business idea comes from a desire to change the status quo as opposed to starting a business as a means to gain purely financial profit.” Among the startups at STEP this year, I have listed a few below that are bringing that innovation and creativity to the table.

“If past history was all there was to the game, the richest people would be librarians.” – Warren Buffet.

Entrepreneur Middle East‘s Editor-in-chief, Fida Chaaban, moderated the opening panel at STEP 2016 to begin the discussion around the investment opportunities that are investable and why? Ms. Hala Fadel, Co-Founder at LEAP Ventures, responded with figures: “we should be investing at least 0.3% of the overall GDP capital injected into the UAE economy which is about 1.2 billion USD in funding.” Although she is correct to look at global best practices that have played out successfully; in this region,  if we are to do it correctly, we need to have the right infrastructure in place that allows for more failures and testing in the marketplace before we can drop in a much more serious amount of capital. We need a lot more funding support from the government in STEM & Fintech as the future shines bright for these industries.

AR


Here are some of the startups that are moving the needle forward in the technology space in the MENA region:

1) Vybz: The latest and greatest in the entertainment technology space right now. Vybz is a musical social network bridging the gap between established artists, up & coming musicians and fans.

2) Justmop.com: Need a shiny place in a fancy city like Dubai, Abu Dhabi, or Doha? Justmop gets the job done. They are an online on-demand marketplace for booking cleaners to help you keep your most precious resource, your time.

3) IRIS Solutions: One of the most innovative and latest technology solutions to autism. The Sensory Box created by IRIS Solutions is a cutting-edge & affordable approach to create a rehabilitation-friendly and safe environment – mostly but not only – for households with children who are affected by developmental disorders.

4) Bridg: On a mission to spread Fintech to masses and let people know they hear them when it comes to the pain of dealing with their banks.

5) Magnitt: A portal that helps and supports startups from concept exploration to launch and growth. All you have to do is join their platform to connect with Investors, Mentors and Potential Partners!

6) Gruptrip: No more forgetting who owes what, forgetting to share the photos, worrying what the itinerary is going to look like. With Gruptrip, everybody gets to see what’s going on through a click of a button. Available both on the app store and play store.

7) Higher Education: Education is the backbone of a society. And Higher Education provides a one stop destination to find out about all universities, colleges, higher education service providers and courses on offer in the United Arab Emirates.