09/19/2012, 00.00
INDIA - UNITED STATES

Volunteers from US multinational in India to learn how to beat the crisis

Dow Corning, a silicone products supplier for cars and parachutes, is now following this strategy. Its projects involve volunteers providing technical knowhow to farmers and help to micro-businesses. In turn, the latter learn new ideas and a better understanding of the global market place.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - US-based Dow Corning is responding to the challenges of the economic crisis and emerging markets by focusing on creativity, experience and sustainable development in places like India.

The company has sent some of employees, all volunteers, to learn on the ground as part of its Corporate Citizenship programme, which is designed to renew its global presence though bilateral exchanges.

By providing technical skills to locals, the company's employees can immerse themselves in different cultures and learn new ideas and innovative market strategies.

Dow Corning makes silicone materials, used in products ranging from cars to parachutes. Its latest project is in Ujire (Karnataka) in cooperation with the Sri Dharmasthala Manjunatheshwara College.

Ten volunteers worked with areca nuts growers (pictured) to develop a peeling machine. They also helped women start micro-businesses and achieve a certain degree of economic emancipation.

"Our volunteering program is an incredibly rich source of business ideas and an inexpensive source of market research," said Laura Asiala, director of corporate citizenship at Dow Corning.

When projects are over, volunteers come home with greater knowledge and experiences about emerging markets, investment possibilities and potential partners.

This path is so fruitful that other companies have done the same. Germany's SAP (software) and US-based IBM (computer services) have undertaken similar projects in the past few years; in Brazil, India and South Africa for SAP, Cambodia and Nigeria, for IBM.

In fact, "Many companies believe that the international corporate volunteering experience can stimulate new insights and learning for their top employees in a way that traditional leadership development programs cannot," a 2012 George Washington University study reported.

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