Guest post by Rajitha Boer – Founder, President & CEO Yerra Solutions AG
Many entrepreneurs approach corporate social responsibility (CSR) with the attitude that “we will tackle that when we grow”. I would like to assert that planting the CSR seed at the beginning of a new venture is exactly the right time to do it. Giving money isn’t the only good a company can do, and establishing CSR as a part of the company’s DNA is something I believe is critical to building a positive culture (which will benefit the company in the long run).
When I started Yerra Solutions in 2013, CSR was one of the key things I wanted to “bake in”. We began early with encouraging our team to participate in charitable activities as a team – from something as small as collecting books for under-privileged schools to something as daunting as the Great North Run in the North East of England. Contributing to society and helping people is something that millennials are famously interested in, and cultivating that is one of the best things a company can do to attract and retain young talent, not to mention do some good for their communities.
After a couple of years, we decided to centralize our efforts around CSR to make more of an impact. We involved the entire Yerra team by conducting a survey of what causes they most care about. Children and education rose to the top, so we began focusing our efforts on causes that support helping children in need by empowering them through education.
This is why I was so excited to join the board of the Open Hearts Big Dreams Fund. I’m honored to be a part of the good they are doing. It personally gives me a great sense of purpose, and it also gives our team a chance to get involved. We will be very proud to distribute a children’s book called The Loud Prince written by the founder of Open Hearts Big Dreams, Ellenore Angelidis, at our upcoming Yerra Conferences in London and Singapore. Get your own and support this great cause!
Of course, we also recognize that each of our global teams want to “get their hands dirty” in their own communities. So, each office has a designated CSR representative who gathers ideas and organizes volunteer efforts. It’s a great way for the teams to build comradery and share the Yerra spirit. We dedicate at least 1% of our profits to these causes.
As an entrepreneur, time is hard to find and money can be hard to part with. But, at Yerra we have overcome those hesitations to build what I believe will be a gold-standard CSR program that will be a positive influence on our company in more ways than I can probably even imagine right now. I try hard to lead by example and am constantly rewarded by team’s enthusiasm about CSR. #YerraCares