How does Messy Bessy instill motivation and discipline in these young people?
“It’s simple,” Krie explains. “Our approach is like a school. We track their work, their academics, their soft skills, even their personal savings to make sure they are really prepared for life after us. We take a really holistic approach to monitoring them.”
Sometimes they have to be strict with the students, “its tough love,” says Krie, who fulfils both a professional and a parental role for these young people. The reason why is simple: After their students receive their college degrees, Messy Bessy wants them to be able to move on from company and work in a job of their choice where “they are not being coddled”. For this, they have to be prepared.
Learning is not a one way street
The social sabbatical program opens one’s eyes to new things and Dirk-Jan viewed the trip as a two-way learning experience. It gave him a deeper understanding of the dynamics in an emerging market. Being on the ground in the Philippines for a month provided him with more insights than he’d ever seen on shorter business trips to India and South East Asia.
It gave also an insight into how social enterprises operate. Messy Bessy conducts business in the same way that all successful companies do – they need to make a profit, they need to work with high quality people and they expect a level of discipline from their employees. Before he arrived in the Philippines, he anticipated a lot of poverty, but only when he experienced it firsthand did he realize how much more complex it really is. In many cases, the people running these enterprises come from good backgrounds. Just like Krie, they start these enterprises in an effort to contribute to social developments and “to give something back.”
This desire to “give back” was shared by everyone involved in the social sabbatical program. All the volunteers had invested a month of their time and were open to the new experience. This open attitude applied to everything, ranging from working with a diverse group of volunteers, coming from 10 different countries and different lines of business, to exploring the Philippines and trying traditional cuisine. Giant tuna eggs and balut – a half hatched duck egg, which is boiled and eaten in its shell – stick out as some of the wackier new experiences. Working with a social enterprise, interacting with foreign cultures, exploring new places and most of all seeing the very real impact that Messy Bessy has on lives and the role that SAP played in that: All these varied and new experiences really stick in Dirk-Jan’s memory and made the experience so worthwhile
SAP introduced the social sabbatical program in 2012 as an innovative opportunity for SAP employees to contribute their time and talent to helping social entrepreneurs in emerging markets. The program strives to solve business challenges, specifically for the social entrepreneurship sector in emerging markets, while strengthening the participants’ leadership competencies, cross-industry know-how, and intercultural sensitivity. Other social sabbatical program projects in the Philippines include:
- Rags2Riches Inc. is committed to improving the quality of life of Filipino community artisans. The team had to improve and strengthen its international business plans, and develop a roadmap for the implementation of its international growth strategy.
- Hapinoy supports women micro entrepreneurs who own and run sari-sari stores. The team had to map out key processes within Hapinoy’s Mobile Financial Services operations, and recommend operations management tool/system.
- Solar Energy Foundation is focused on “Empowering communities through solar energy”. The worked on program management training & standardization of tools/operation to achieve success replication of L4E program.
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