“88% of consumers said they were more likely to buy from a company that supports and engages in activities to improve society.”
- Better Business Journey, UK Small Business Consortium
Corporate social responsibility, responsible business practice, call it what you will. The need for business to become about more than profit is fast becoming an integral part of the business environment. For a long time the emphasis was on big business but these days there is more and more emphasis on small business playing their part.
Supporting business to play their part, CBSA knows that many SME accomplish this by being environmentally friendly or by giving their employees good health and financial benefits. However, some go the extra mile and take a long-term approach to business that addresses the needs of their communities and the people in it.
GiaKonda IT Ltd is one such business.
Giakonda IT, a family business owned by Howard and Wendy Kirkman, has been trading in Humphrey St, Swansea since March 2011 but have many years’ experience in providing IT services for both education and business sectors. Like many others in the field they provide a wide range of IT support services including onsite and remote support; installation, maintenance and repair of computer systems; domain name registration; hosting and web design and computer training courses at all levels.
But GiaKonda IT do a lot more than that.
CBSA have worked closely with Giakonda IT since 2012 when the company provided IT training to a group of young people not in employment, education or training, enabling them to achieve ECDL qualifications and to learn the basic skills needed to oversee day-to-day running of IT in a business situation.
Giakonda also took part in one of our supported employment projects offering invaluable work experience placements for 4 young people. The results of this association have been striking. Of the four people placed at Giakonda IT for extended work experience; two entered full-time employment and two returned to full-time education. This is testament to the supportive environment offered by the business and their perception in realizing that it can be a rocky road to employment for a young person who has been out of work for a long period of time.
They have also worked with CBSA in supporting ethic minority women in Cardiff gain a greater understanding of options for employment and employers expectations of their staff.
The company takes their social responsibilities seriously: Howard Kirkman says
“We feel very much a part of the local community in Swansea. We have run many courses for local organisations and charities either pro bono or at significantly reduced rates, and they feel confident about turning to us for help.”
However GiaKonda IT’s definition of local community is not confined by the city boundary. In January 2015 as volunteers with the Discovery Group at Swansea University, Howard and Wendy travelled to Zambia to provide Raspberry Pi computers to rural schools in Zambia, which are part of the Swansea-Siavonga Partnership.
Using their own funds they set up Raspberry Pi computers in five schools in the Siavonga District, and the necessary solar power packs in two schools that have no electricity. They plan to return in July 2015 to network the local charity offices, provide them with a website and continue to expand the computer systems in schools.
This strong sense of community engagement is at the heart of their business strategy. Whilst their work with local charities and the Zambia project has obvious benefit for local and international communities, GiaKonda IT have had the foresight to recognise how this broadens their circle of influence and allows them to develop the skills that aid business expansion.
CBSA's vision is of a Nation that is enterprising, its economy driven forward by responsible businesses that create good, sustainable jobs. Where companies behave like GiaKonda IT and live up to their obligations as global citizens and local neighbors.