Liquid is working hard.
That’s what happens when you try to set up shop, a complex online network, in Africa.
While facing unbelievable challenges, they are succeeding. In part, it’s doing business right. Which is effective CSR.
CSR is not just about philanthropy. It’s about treating everyone within your company and everyone without your company with excellence. That’s the first line of Corporate Social Responsibility — not a donation.
Here’s what a good-intentioned company can face. It’s the story of a courageous company called Liquid:
• 5-year legal battle to operate in Zimbabwe;
• 2 years to run cable;
• 18 months of negotiations;
• Cable nearly washed away by a river;
• Reconstructing the cables, they came across massive beehives.
That doesn’t sound like exciting philanthropy, but they are doing so much good. Intentions are to help millions of good people who may have little or no resources have access like all of us. People who want to connect with the outside to world; people who want to learn, to grow, to dream and to improve their lives.
Results abound. Liquid’s large network of cable is spanning South Africa… to Zambia… to Zimbabwe… Kenya… Uganda and more. They are in 12 countries.
So why are they so successful?
1. They persevere. They don’t give up. No one said running a business, or CSR, was easy.
2. They train locals. Local communities feel enfranchised, have jobs, and see results in their own lives.
3. They lease cable lines that already exist. Don’t unnecessarily compete. Work with what exists, and scale faster.
4. They work with cable companies already present. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Partner with good, existing companies.
Finally, they are transparent. Since you can’t see cable lines under the earth, Liquid leadership went on a campaign presenting powerpoints and fully releasing their intentions to all politcos, government officials and higher ups.
Was any of this easy?
No. But if you have a passion to serve the world and believe in your product, you’ll persevere and make it happen.
Businesses, let’s learn from Liquid on how to do great CSR. Not just through philanthropy, but also through thoughtful day-to-day business operations.