By Sanjay Govil – Chairman
The role that meaningful jobs can play in molding lives has also been evident to me in my involvement with The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE), a global non-profit network that develops entrepreneurs across several countries through mentoring and education. Our belief is that it is important to give youth an opportunity to grow their skill-sets, learn problem-solving, and understand what it means to launch a business. We do this through The Young Entrepreneurs (TYE) boot camp competition that teaches entrepreneurship to high school students. Watching TYE create a global community who have been trained to be entrepreneurial has shown me that young people ought to be supported with employment to tap their potential and help them create a better life. As an old Chinese proverb tells us, “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”
Creating jobs can transform communities
This is also a belief we share at Infinite and is reflected in our journey as a company. When Infinite began in 1999, we started with our first hundred employees, and today, we are a proud family of over 6000 employees. As we grew in size over the years, we grew into a better company. Today, we believe that success doesn’t just lie in creating revenue at the bottom-line of a balance sheet. Success lies in taking people along—enlarging our business family and growing to include more dreams, more opportunities, and more life stories, which bring in varied talents, skills, and potential. Creating jobs grows not just an organization, but also enriches the environment it operates in, stimulating economic and social development. Businesses across industries—FMCG, food and beverage, manufacturing, services, and more— have based their expansion on creating more job opportunities. This fuels the economy and supplements governments’ efforts across the globe. Such efforts become more crucial when we consider that 71 million young people are unemployed and 38% of youth still live in poverty. How can we empower these young people across the world for a lifetime?
At Infinite, we do this by generating jobs that benefit local communities, and also working to route these opportunities to deserving youth, who are constrained by their socio-economic background. One of the ways we achieve this is through our work with children at Sparsha in Bangalore, mentoring and bringing them to our facility for campus visits, thereby demonstrating to them that they can have access to similar opportunities.
This journey as an organization has shown us that creating jobs is one way to impact the community that one is embedded in, as it builds the course for sustained change. Further, channeling these opportunities to reach the underprivileged is a step ahead. Whole sections of people remain underprivileged due to poverty, and the lack of opportunities and powerlessness that accompany it. If we look at the socio-economic landscape from a long-term perspective, it is easy to see that poverty and financial inequalities stem from earning limitations—which are largely due to unemployment, or below-par employment. Having a job makes a difference not just to an individual but to his entire family.
Therefore, I believe, creating jobs is the ultimate form of CSR. When an organization can do this, the community it engages with gets truly integrated, dispelling the distinction of ‘us’ and ‘them’. It’s a compelling form of economic and social support, whereby an organization links its fortunes with those for whom it has created opportunities, hoping to drive progress for itself and the larger community.
While philanthropic initiatives are plentiful and must certainly continue, we should also take action to empower people. People are empowered and emancipated by the promise held out by jobs—for financial security, economic stability for families, new avenues, a platform for fulfillment and personal growth, and the path to improve one’s position in society. As opposed to a one-time donation, a job is a benefit for life, and it uplifts not just that one person, but entire families. And with the resources, capital, depth and breadth of skill-sets and ideas that organizations possess, this is not just possible, it also exemplifies ‘corporate social responsibility’ in its true spirit. The idea is to equip an individual to channel his potential and make him the master of his life. If this happens at a comprehensive scale, it can point to an ideal world where there is really no need for aid or CSR.