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  • May-19-2018

CSR as a Start-up Launchpad

Oceanic Pharmachem Private Limited (OPPL) believes that CSR and Entrepreneurship must go hand-in-hand to ensure sustainability in the long run.

Many start-ups today have started embracing CSR right from the word “Go.” Until a few years ago, corporate social responsibility was often a vague term that typically meant donating sums of money to disparate causes from time to time. However, with the increasing success of companies that actively integrate corporate social responsibility into their culture and operations, new entrepreneurs are seeing the value of CSR in helping shape the world around them.

Even outside of changing the world, corporate social responsibility is increasingly becoming important to consumers as they decide what companies to support through their purchases. Today’s “purpose-driven consumers” feel a responsibility to purchase products that are good for the environment and society. Further, majority of these consumers (65%) are often educated individuals between the ages of 25 and 35 - at the right spot for many companies hoping to generate buzz and increase popularity.

Clearly, the two concepts - CSR and start-ups - can coexist peacefully and act in a synergistic relationship. Budding entrepreneurs can incorporate CSR into their ventures with the following options, especially if they do not yet have a footprint or partnership with humanitarian organizations.

1. Starting a buy one-give one or similar campaign

Donating one of the manufactured goods and/or earnings for every one product or service sold, through a strategic partnership to a relevant organization. Alternatively, once the start-up company grows beyond infancy, starting a branch that focuses exclusively on providing resources to underserved populations or charitable foundations. This way, certain employees are able to focus solely on making sure donations and charitable work have as much impact as possible.

2. Sourcing materials from responsible manufacturers, harvesters and farmers

Perhaps the best-known form of corporate social responsibility, which helps maintain a commitment to procure goods from “environmentally preferred” sources which includes recycled or organic materials and from companies who meet requirements of environmental responsibility, accountability, transparency, and social awareness.

3. Partnering with local organizations to host employee civic service days

Assisting a local, non-profit service organization or group that needs more manpower semi-annually or annually, where employees donate time to community service.

4. Setting up a grant or scholarship program in relevant fields

Starting small scholarships for students intending to study in a field related to own business and adding additional scholarships, scholarships in larger amounts, or grant programs for students starting initiatives in similar fields, as the company grows.

5. Hosting student training or professional development days

Developing local students (and potential future employees) by providing up-skilling workshops or career camps that allow them the opportunity to improve interview skills, fix up resumes or explore new job fields. Events like these can be beneficial for students to gain industry experience as well as for company employees to identify bright, enthusiastic prospects.

It is imperative for future entrepreneurs to consider integrating corporate social responsibility into their business plan or even developing an organizational CSR branch. Not only will it provide a great way to do good CSR but it could also help drive sales and popularity. In today’s world, whether a company’s motivations are in changing the world or in appealing to more consumers, CSR is quickly becoming an aspect of business that companies, new or old, cannot ignore.

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