The role of business is diverse, for business is not simply addressing what is happening in the corporate world. It is also about what is happening in our society. The correlation between these two factors is interchangeable. Which means that one always affects the other in many different ways. If business shifts, of course, changes are redirected to and observed in society. And vice versa. If society changes, so does business as well. Changes are unavoidable. Especially when we seek progress, modernization and prosperity. So we can argue that society, to some extent, is a reflection of business itself and the corporate responsibility integrated into one's business model. What better way, then, to tell how business is going than measuring the impact it has on society?
Characterized by extreme dynamics, the private industry turns into one of the most influential reform-drivers when it comes to politics, education and economic activities. its rapid expansion depends largely on the success brought forward by the field of information and communication technology.
IT Academies – the Holy Grail brought to society by the corporate responsibility
Bearing such conclusions in mind and emphasizing on forward-looking ideas, we at BGO Software created our first Web Academy in Plovdiv, Bulgaria with the help of our NGO “With Love for Bulgaria”. Because the concentration of IT experts is in the capital city – Sofia, we combined several concepts in order to benefit potential software engineers in other towns. With the establishment of Web Academy Plovdiv, we wanted to contribute to the economic development of the city and give an opportunity to people to work from their hometown, without having to move to Sofia. For the first six months, more than 300 programmers received professional training and certifications. The best ones signed a contract and are now working for us. When it comes to certification, here’s the moment to indicate that Bulgaria ranks 3rd in Europe and 10th in a worldwide perspective in terms of the number of certified ICT professionals. So we are glad to know that our academies are also part of this achievement. Seeing the huge success of our initiative, we built another Web Academy soon enough. Situated in Stara Zagora, the free IT academy has the goal to revive the city as a modern and innovative center of information technology.
Our role, and the role of many other tech- or software-based businesses then, is to create jobs that reward specialists by promising better career as well as personal development. That’s the proper way to handle IT staff and to generate change in our society and country.
What urges corporate commitment to the Bulgarian community?
There are various private and nonprofit organizations that focus on the creation and development of a contemporary society with the skills and know-how which the worldwide business asks for. Hence, before going on to making any dramatic changes, company owners should always have one foot inside the company and one foot outside the company. Inside – to see how things are operating in regards to the social impact they want to make. Outside – to understand the demands, requests, expectations and worldviews of people in regards to the business itself and how, exactly, do they recognize it as a means for good. Initially, such thing as one-size-fits-them-all for organizations simply does not exist. The private sector may contain similarly-oriented IT companies but one major difference is the leader and his mindset. And every leader is a person that sees smart business in different ways. There might be common goals, but the routes as well as the tools and techniques used may vary.
Precisely, they include enhancing the quality of learning, setting updated industry standards, and creating and implementing competency models by establishing private IT academies; creating and sharing knowledge through external and internal training or certification programs for the personnel and future employees; and last but not least, attracting and developing young talents by offering internships and other work-related initiatives.
That’s why we say that corporate responsibility to society is often expressed through diverse initiatives. Some Bulgarian IT companies organize events such as Open Career Days. Others prefer seminars, conferences and hackathons that allow experienced programmers or industry newcomers to participate in the development of ground-breaking technologies, solutions and trends. Nevertheless, all of these are linked together by a bunch of factors. Factors which drive corporate responsibility to society.
- Customer appreciation
- Supporting new business
- Supporting creativity and innovation
- Improvement in productivity
- Mitigating and avoiding business risks
- Creating competitive advantage
- Increasing of recruitment rates
- Maintaining relationships of trust
- Brand strengthening
How does this corporate responsibility benefit society?
As the fastest developing industry in Bulgaria, IT becomes not only a real economy booster, but a real social benefits-distributor as well. It is clear that related businesses are not intertwined with the context of commerce only. On the contrary. They extend far beyond the boundaries posed by the market. Businesses now take the social milieu quite seriously. Thus, business takes something out if its own structure, nature and landscape (knowledge, for example) and integrates it into society. Both of them exist together, not separately. After all, a longstanding value is created only through a longstanding investment in society. Respectively, it is safe to say that companies benefit society by:
- Delivering more tech-oriented jobs
- Improving Bulgarian labor market
- Preparing and training future software specialists
- Advancing the skills of employees
- Increasing the production of goods and services
- Investing in new technologies
- Establishing and spreading international standards
- Setting up and distributing good practice to various areas
- Helping other fields grow and move forward
In this regard, non-profit organizations aim at helping the development of knowledge-driven people who are ready to embrace the advantages offered by the industry of innovation and technology. Our own NGO “With Love for Bulgaria” shares similar views and objectives. On the whole, the private sector and companies that are part of it want to:
- Introduce society to a provision of innovative solutions to current challenges and problems
- Equip people with the necessary industry knowledge, experience and abilities through specialized training programs
- Transfer best practices and knowledge from the best experts
- Demonstrate how valuable tech-focused knowledge and technologies are when it comes to reinforcing the civil society and establishing competitive business environment
In summary, the private business sector is regarded as a catalyst of social change, a source of new jobs, a driver of economic and structural reforms. It is very much in the interest of any company that want to sustain profitability to create social cohesion, promote good practices and respond to the expectations of people. It is in the private sector’s nature to nurture innovation and success, and to plant such motives in society. However, integrating ethical and social values, reshaping the economy of Bulgaria, improving the labor market by creating more job opportunities and preparing people for these opportunities all become the ultimate norm, which helps the private sector complete its mission.