Kicking things off at this year’s Global Corporate Citizenship Conference was a standing-room only panel discussion that shone a spotlight on two successful partnerships that aim to stimulate economic development — in particular focusing on small and medium enterprises (SMEs) — in emerging markets.
Why the focus on increasing economic opportunity? It’s the most effective way to meet Millennium Development Goal #1 — eradicating poverty — said David Fulton of the World Bank in his introductory remarks.
Companies like Microsoft and IBM (both highlighted in the afternoon session) have developed innovative programs that allow them to leverage their core competencies to promote economic development in the communities around the world in which they operate. Panelists Tim Dubel of Microsoft and Robin Willner of IBM shared some of their key takeaways from running programs at their respective companies.
Bring Your Best
In both IBM’s Corporate Service Corps and Microsoft’s six-year partnership with POETA, the companies utilize their best assets: their people, and their technology. It’s not about giving what’s left over, what they no longer need or wish to recycle, said Willner – it’s strategic. And this allows each company to make the most difference for their partners, for their communities and grantees, and for themselves.
“You can’t get CSR credit for giving any less than your best,” Willner said. IBM’s Corporate Service Corps deploys 10-person teams of “the best of the best” employees to provide advisory services (to the tune of more than $250,000 in volunteer hours) in countries around the world.
Read the rest of the post at the BCLC Blog.