Why we are B1G1…
In the mists of time, many years ago, I set up a social enterprise called The Life Project C.I.C. The purpose of The Life Project was to equip teens and young adults with the employability and transferable skills to live their lives with clearer direction and greater fulfilment. We ran workshops and gave talks on careers, entrepreneurship and life project planning. The work that we offered, to charities such as MIND, to the NHS, British Council, top Universities, Academies and schools began to form a cohesive philosophy and body of work on life planning and career management. This morphed into the book Your Life Plan and set the foundation of our Career Matters philosophy and method, which we use today to improve mobility and retention in the world’s best organisations.
Quality education has always been of critical importance to me. Education and learning have always been a deep source of pleasure, inspiration and progress for me. My father, a political refugee from Russia, came here with nothing to ensure I had a great education.
Education is one of the UN’s key sustainable development goals.
We all know that a good education can lift people out of poverty, improve their health, economic and life chances. It can promote wellbeing and help progression up the scale of human needs toward achieving one’s full potential.
Our work at Career Matters centres around personal development, transferable skills and careers education – enabling people to use self-knowledge and knowledge of their organisation, industry and market, to design a career that uses all of their talents and enables them to achieve remarkable things.
But I wanted to do more than that…
In my time running The Life Project C.I.C, I discovered that social enterprises experience real challenges and barriers that make it hard to thrive in the market.
You are often providing services to organisations and individuals who really need them, but lack the resources to pay for them. You are thus in a process of either ‘taking from Peter to feed Paul’ that is, running charged for workshops that then fund the workshops in organisations that could not otherwise afford them, or seeking out funding and grants, which in itself is time-consuming. The profit margin on these projects is low and frankly, if there was a good margin in them, another business would already be filling the gap! This makes social enterprise a truly challenging and complex business model.
Social business, on the other hand, allows a company to thrive commercially, whilst taking an ethical approach and being values led. As a company limited by share, Career Matters is free to make a profit and do great work while finding ways to give back.
Yet as a startup, we have to watch our cash and are not in a position to make large donations to social projects. But we want to give and to be part of the solution in the field of quality education and we don’t want to have to wait until we have enough money to set up a trust, foundation or CSR programme of our own!
That’s where B1G1 comes in
B1G1 is a fantastic tool that enables our business to do just that. To give, small amounts, now and make a real difference.
B1G1 stands for Buy One Give One. The platform was set up by Masami Soto. Masami has the vision to end poverty and deprivation worldwide by instigating regular ‘positive giving impacts’.
The company has sourced a number of impactful projects that address the UN development goals. These have been scrutinised the quality of work and effort.
We then donate to a specific project using the platform. In this way, we plug the funding gap for social change projects and social enterprises and also fulfil our drive to be of service and have a positive impact on the world.
What this means is, instead of large occasional donations, B1G1 businesses get into the habit of giving to impactful projects, every time their clients take an action.
So, when we write a proposal for you, we make a giving impact on the donation platform. In fact, we give 30 days of light to a woman in Kenya. Electric light extends the day and provides opportunities to read and learn at night.
When you pay an invoice for us, we give 30 days of education to a young person in Indonesia. And when you sign up to our mailing list, we donate to a children’s library.
In this way, we make a habit of giving
Every time there is a cause for celebration in our company, we take the time to give back a small amount of money, to mark that achievement and to share our achievement with others around the world.
The platform is incredibly simple to use. The team, based out of Singapore, has created a wonderful community of support. And best of all, our customers are often surprised and delighted when a certificate to evidence the giving impact they made possible, pops into their inbox.
So that’s B1G1 and us. I am very proud to be a member of this worldwide initiative and to know that we are giving a tithe of what we receive. It is humbling to be able to do this work and to know that we can help others progress their careers and futures all over the world through this simple platform, is a true joy!
To find out more about B1G1, visit their website at www.b1g1.com/businessforgood.