WHAT IS SOCIAL OUTSOURCING?
Social outsourcing is the contracting out of goods or services to socially conscious enterprises, resulting in a positive impact on the planet and its’ people. This model still ensures “commercial outsourcing” for businesses – financially competitive contracting out of services to private sector firms who in return provide contracted services, but in contrast to traditional models, outsourcing partners also act as agents of change in the communities and countries they work. A truly 21st century business model, that is operated by companies like DigitalRain who strongly believe that business can only be sustainable long-term, if our drive comes from our success being measured by the social impact it has on the environment, communities and individuals rather than solely the annual profit gained.
When we traditionally talk about social enterprises, we often expect organisations operating on a blurred line between a charity/NGO and profit making business; frequently employing marginalised members of the society. Here, we are looking a professionally-run socially conscious business that at its core is passionate about the power of ICT technology and the social change in the world. While providing high quality software development services and technology solutions to it’s clients, we are helping to build the next generation of Cambodian IT developers and entrepreneurs, as well as a new tech industry that is people and planet focused.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
For you, as a client dealing with socially conscious enterprise is no different to dealing with any other business. We are business people not charity/NGO workers, with over 25 years in the mobile and IT industry in the UK and globally- we understand your needs, technical challenges and tight deadlines.
SO, WHY IS IT DIFFERENT?
There are 2 major differences – the way we employ people and how we use profits. As a socially conscious enterprise, we pay fair wages to our staff and support their personal and professional development. For us, it means employing young talented Cambodians who often would not have opportunities to grow their skills and gain new insights by delivery projects for international businesses.
The Cambodian IT industry is relatively small and offers only limited experience for young programmers, technicians and entrepreneurs. Most of the Cambodian IT industry staff are below the age of 24, highly motivated and skilled but often coming from poor rural communities without political and business connections that would enable them to progress. The vast majority of Cambodians, who are lucky enough to go to university, become primary breadwinners alongside their studies at university – supporting both their parents and younger siblings – often contributing more than 50% of their income to support their families and relatives who are often subsistence farmers living in rural provinces.
After the devastating Khmer Rouge genocide and almost 20 years of political instability, Cambodians were left in poverty, without any commercially viable industry, and limited educational opportunities. Today, it is a country with growing economy and a vibrant local and international business community. However, there is still a long way to go with almost 3 million people living below the poverty line (earning less than $2 per day). As result, many are still dependent on the thousands of international NGOs delivering education, health and other services to poor rural communities, as well as the new urban poor. With 52% of Cambodian population being under the age of 25, it will be the young people of Cambodia who will have to drive the change for a better future for all.
 Statistics World Bank 2016
Therefore, by employing one IT staff member we not only provide them with income, skills, knowledge and experience but we also ensure that their brothers and sisters have an opportunity to stay in school (50% of poor youth leave school to financially support their families) and their family are provided access to food, water and healthcare through increased family income. At the same time these young women and men act as positive role models within their communities and industry, in years to come becoming the next generation of Cambodian tech industry leaders and entrepreneurs.
In addition, DigitalRain is currently developing a business model which will enable us to use profits made through our social outsourcing model, to fully fund a technology incubator hub for young IT businesses in Cambodia. This programme will provide support, mentoring and tech advice to young start ups looking at new technologies and use of ICT for social and environmental development.