As a part of the Corporate Service Corps (CSC) program, IBM announced four projects for Kochi. The projects will be implemented in partnership with India@75, Local Economic Development Society (LEDS), Kara Ventures and Navabharath Foundation. A team comprising of 12 IBMers from nine different countries (France, Canada, Sweden, Brazil, USA, Australia, Slovakia, Germany and Spain) will work on these projects over a six month period with one month being spent on location.
The team will focus on developing sustainable solutions for the rapidly growing city, which is currently among the fastest growing urban centres in India. Specifically, the teams will work with NGOs on four key projects; Including conceptualizing a solid waste management system and formulating new strategies for the handloom sector. As part of the deployment, the IBM team will also focus on developing innovative youth empowerment programs and will work to promote the budding micro-enterprise sector.
“The 16th deployment of a CSC team to India demonstrates IBM's commitment to India and to the growth markets. Through the Corporate Service Corps program, we leverage some of IBM’s best talent and expertise to drive social innovation. The projects at Cochin highlight our commitment to accelerate and enhance the operations of NGO’s and public agencies. Working closely with the community is also a great learning experience for the individual and provides a canvas for many innovations.”, said Mamtha Sharma, Manager - Corporate Citizenship & Community Affairs, IBM India/South Asia.
Kochi is an important city for IBM. It has experienced rapid economic growth in recent years due to the development of tourism, manufacturing, shipbuilding, seafood and spices exports, and IT industries. IBM has a branch office in Kochi and has been working with clients in the region to provide advanced software solutions, technologies and services to aid their business growth.
In recent years the state has witnessed heavy investment by companies keen to tap into its vibrant economy, brining about new challenges for the emerging industrial hub.
Working with India@75, an NGO striving to create independent industry led autonomous bodies which can address local issues with respect to urbanization, the IBM CSC team will build a suitable framework to recycle solid waste and put it to gainful use. The assignment shall entail, firstly, understanding the type and quantity of waste that reaches final disposal points. This will eventually be followed by recommendations on how this waste can be reused, recycled, regenerated or detoxified before final disposal.
Alongside the Local Economic Development Society (LEDS) which works towards the economic empowerment of micro-entrepreneurs in that context on Responsible Tourism projects pioneered in Kerala by the State Department of Tourism in association with Kudumbashree - the state poverty eradication mission - the IBM CSC team will devise a strategic business plan for marketing Kerala craft enterprises to hotels, corporate houses and institutions that support Fair Trade practices.
For Kara Ventures, a creative venture focusing on providing an impetus to the Kerala handloom industry by combining design, technology and entrepreneurship, the IBM CSC team will guide the organization to achieve the Fair Trade Certification. A Fair-Trade Certification would open up a whole new marketplace for Kara’s products in addition to providing several more collaborative opportunities with other organizations. The IBM team will also assist Kara in defining guidelines for pricing its products for retails and wholesale.
For Navabharath Foundation (NBF), working towards improving the living Standards of the underprivileged through quality education, youth empowerment, and stabilization of income generation, the IBM CSC team will develop a micro-enterprise incubation model that will include private participation in mentoring in management, marketing, soft skills, seed capital and on-going support. The end objective of this model will be to ensure the micro-enterprises can pay back the initial investment. The project will also include visiting select corporates that are potential incubating organizations in a needs assessment exercise to test and tweak the model and make the necessary changes. The staff at Navabharath will also be mentored and trained to present the incubation model and strategic plan to potential incubating organizations.
The Corporate Service Corps is a global volunteer program that places high-potential IBMers from different countries and business units into strategic emerging markets in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America to work on core societal challenges. Under this program, IBMers provide high quality IT and business consulting related assistance to both local governments and community organizations. Local economic development, entrepreneurship, transportation, education, citizen services, health care, and disaster recovery are some of the issues tackled by the teams.
Before arriving in India, the CSC members spent three months preparing for their assignments and will now be on-location for a month interacting with partners and involved communities as part of the project. Towards the close of their stay here, they will suggest suitable technical/ business solutions for execution by the partners. The CSC teams will be available for guidance and support through the implementation process.