Cheers for CSR “Sell-to-Help” Project Competition
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University Faculty of Business has organized the Generation.Next: Leadership Programme for The Future Leader of the 21st Century in 2014 cooperated with Dale Carnegie Training and Hinrich Foundation. In stage 1, the Dale Carnegie trainers conducted 6 Professional Development Training Workshops to provide training for Business students in PolyU. In stage 2, 40 students are selected to enter the CSR “Sell-to-Help” project competition sponsored by Hinrich Foundation. This project aims at creating jobs for the disable but hardworking Cambodian artisans and developing students’ sense of social responsibility and practical business skills.
First group meeting on 11 November
Before the goods purchasing day, I and my team had the first group meeting on 11 November. We discussed which products to be purchased with budget of HK$1,900. We decided to buy both the Christmas ornaments and travelling commodities in order to spread the risk in case either type of goods does not sell well. Regarding team name, Bonnie had an idea to call it “Cheers” as the word itself and each character can have a separate meaning. Cheer itself has a bright and joyful meaning which can represent our brand image; for each letter, C for Cambodian artisans, H for Hinrich Foundation, E for elite, E for empowerment, R for responsibility, S for success, they are all related to the project.
Good purchasing day on 13 November
On the goods purchasing day, we are the fourth team to buy. Bonnie, Draco and Inka were there monitoring what products did other teams buy and slightly changed our purchasing plan accordingly. Finally we bought Christmas ornaments such as elephant, deer, flying horse, horse, puppy and flying deer with 10-12 items each and also some travelling commodities such as travel cases, passport holders and key rings. Since the maximum price and minimum price have already been provided, we will try to sell our products within this range.
Second group meeting and photo taking on 15 November
After the goods purchasing day, it’s time to discuss our project plan. We agreed our desired results would be developing our brand with a cheerful, joyful, and hopeful image, creating a better future and empowering the disable Cambodian artisans. Bonnie suggested setting up a website in order to develop and communicate our brand and provide online selling in a sustainable way with low cost. Sheree suggested we cooperate with well-known charity organizations to do consignment sale as they have a larger source of customers. Draco suggested opening an account on Wechat to widen our market to Mainland China. After the discussion, we took photos for the products and prepared to use them in later promotion.
First Project Progress Session on 18 November
In the first project progress session with a coach from Dale Carnegie Training, Bonnie, Draco and Sheree were there, details of our business plan were discussed. Sheree had found some Facebook pages of charity events that may help us to do online selling and promotion. Also, she had found some suitable public places like shopping mall in Megabox for selling the products. These shopping malls may provide us a small booth since we are doing this charitable business. Inside the booth, we can hold some simple games to attract kids and we can explain our products and values to the potential customers to raise the their awareness of the needs of the Cambodian.
After the coach questioned about what makes us different to attract customers, Bonnie came up with an idea of creating a fairy tale about our brand and products in order to add value to our products. The story is designed that the Christmas ornaments animals are actually the guardian angels of children; we can also give them names so it seems to be adopting a pet instead of buying a toy. On the photo taking day, a little boy came across and was attracted by the Christmas ornaments we were displaying. We realized that our target customers would be families with children, so a fairy tale will be a tool for promotion. It was also suggested to make a video to tell the story during the bazaars.
In addition, the situation of the disable artisan in Cambodia had been clarified. The artisans are mostly paid by the number of pieces that they produced. Roughly speaking, most of them could earn US$150/month as average, depending on their time and production, and also their product designs. The net earnings will be donated back to Hinrich Foundation to help those Cambodia artists. With this information, we can reflect the poor situation to and educate our customers in the future to raise their sense of social responsibility.
About the author – Chung Hau Ying (Bonnie)