How to become a business for good in 2024

My trip to Cambodia with B1G1 by Sarah Akin-Smith 

Since Autumn 2020, the CEO Coach® has partnered with global charity Buy1Give1 (B1G1) as part of a global network of purpose-driven businesses that want to make a difference and be a business for good. As a result, every time a client does business with James, something great happens, such as a female entrepreneur in a developing nation gets coached for a month in business or a child is helped with their education.  

Since joining, we have donated 5% of our monthly business profit to carefully selected high-impact projects across the globe that matter to us. Our target is to make 100,000 positive impacts. We recently passed the 50,000 impact mark.  

James’ love is, naturally, coaching, so we primarily focus our giving in areas of children’s education and helping students into higher education and university, keeping girls off the street and safe where they can learn skills to earn a living to name but a few.  

Business for good: building a new playground for This Life Cambodia, Sarah digging with a shovel alongside a fellow study tour attendee
Building a new playground for This Life Cambodia

My huge passion is female entrepreneurs. Did you know that in some developing countries, women cannot open a bank account to access loans to help them grow their businesses? With B1G1, we can help women have access to micro loans. B1G1 helps lower the barrier to entry for female entrepreneurs with initiatives such as providing their first laptops and giving access to training in areas such as bookkeeping, business coaching, etc. to help them grow their business and in many cases to support their communities.  

In January this year, I was fortunate enough to travel to Cambodia on a Buy1Give1 study tour to visit some of the projects that we support. It was very humbling to understand more about how those we met who have suffered greatly from living on the streets are now safe, attending schools, or learning skills to earn an income. It has made a huge difference in their lives.  It was a privilege to see the work being done first-hand and to meet other people from businesses around the globe who joined me and support B1G1, together with the founders Masami Sato and Paul Dunn. The projects we visited included: 

This Life Cambodia 

Business for good: Bikes just given to the children part of project This Life Cambodia
Bikes just given to the children part of project This Life Cambodia

Based in Siem Reap, this project is focused on educational development that directly benefits the lives of children, youths and their families. Without an education or training a child is immediately disadvantaged and can fall prey to those who can put them in danger. Billy Gorter from the UK who now lives in Cambodia, and his team’s phenomenal work includes: 

  • Training youths with life skills to earn a living 
  • Providing bikes for children living in rural areas so they can get to school  
  • Funding vocational training to help youths to be independent and have self-worth 

The Trailblazer Foundation 

Business for good: visiting a project run by Trailblazer, to see the production and distribution of sand water filters, creating healthy living opportunities for families and transforming their lives
Visiting a project run by Trailblazer: the production and distribution of sand water filters

This initiative provides safe drinking water for families and gives access to a lavatory as well as agriculture training. 

Phare Ponleu Selpak 

Business for good: Phere circus performance
Phere circus performance

This project offers children and youths rescued from the streets in dreadful conditions the chance to train in the performing arts and music. Some students have gone on to perform in Cirque du Soleil. We were treated to an impressively professional performance.  

Hotel and restaurant in Siam Reap 

Business for good: Sala-Bai students teaching us a Cambodian dish
Students teaching us a Cambodian dish

For two decades, this amazingly run hotel has trained disadvantaged youths aged 17-23 for free. This enables students to achieve economic independence, improve their families’ living conditions, and ensure they are supported and safe. Preference is given to females to overcome their higher vulnerability and lower access to education. The students showed us how to cook a traditional meal that evening, which we then had for dinner afterwards. It was delicious and professionally served, we were very impressed. One day they hope they will find good jobs in hospitality.  

Child’s Dream 

Business for good: Childs Dream Project: Group photo of pupils and B1G1 group
Childs Dream Project: Group photo of pupils and B1G1 group

This programme builds schools so that marginalised children have access to basic education, youth employment, and university scholarships. The group I was with got stuck in with pickaxes and shovels to help build a playground that, to quote B1G1, included ‘four hours of hard work, achy backs, blistered hands, AND, most importantly, beaming faces.’ We met Marc Thomas Jenni, co-founder and managing director operations of the Child’s Dream Foundations who is remarkable with what he is achieving.    

Free to Shine in Siem Reap 

This independent non-government organisation aims to prevent sex trafficking and provides material and social support for at-risk girls to finish school. It was truly eye-opening to learn how many girls are being protected by the wonderful work they do.

Visiting these projects and seeing the difference B1G1 makes to so many lives was a wonderful and rewarding experience. Going forward, we will focus more on the projects we visited in Cambodia to help them with the great work currently taking place. 

Business for good: How you can make a difference 

Having witnessed the life-changing impact of B1G1 first-hand, I encourage you to become a business for good and start creating positive impacts for a better future.  

One of the many things that attracted us to B1G1 is that everything you give goes directly to the charities on the ground. Plus, it’s quick and easy to embed giving into your everyday business operations. 

Even small amounts add up and create big impacts. Just one pound could give someone in Africa a week’s coaching in marketing. So, join us in making an impact where it really counts. 

To find out more, visit the B1G1 website or connect with B1G1 founder and CEO Masami Sato.  

 

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