The Corporate Citizenship Award for Best Economic Empowerment Program recognizes work to empower individuals through financial inclusion and business empowerment initiatives. The 2014 finalists show the significant, positive impact businesses have around the world. See all the finalists.
The Dow Chemical Company
As one of the world’s largest science and technology companies, Dow seeks to leverage its resources to alleviate poverty and boost economic development in Africa. Since May 2013, the company has worked with two innovative but resource-strapped social entrepreneurs: d.light design and Sanergy. Dow helps expand and diversify d.light’s global supply chain in the developing world, providing greater access to low-cost solar power products for those living in areas that lack electricity. Dow also collaborates with sanitation company Sanergy to create a mechanization that converts waste into fertilizer in 24 hours. Dow’s help and direction is essential in providing creative solutions to fundamental infrastructure issues for Africa’s poorest residents.
According to the Brookings Institution, Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is the most effective anti-poverty program in the United States. Unfortunately, 20% of qualifying workers don’t file for the credit. In partnership with the IRS, United Way, and other community agencies, Entergy sponsors Super Tax Day Events to help eligible customers file for and receive the refunds they have earned. In 2013 more than 13,000 individuals participating in the Events received free tax preparation assistance and more than $25 million in EITC refunds. Since 2008, Entergy has helped put more than $64 million in EITC refunds into the pockets of 38,500 low income customers.
Qualcomm Wireless Reach
Many women in developing and emerging markets have the ideas and ambition needed to become successful entrepreneurs, but are held back by a lack of access to business skills, technology, networks, or capital. To address this problem, Qualcomm created The Mentoring Women in Business program, which connects global business professionals with women entrepreneurs in Malaysia. Mentees attend a 7-day training to enhance their English and ICT skills and learn how to use online tools to grow their businesses. They are given a 3G tablet and data plan and are matched with a dedicated mentor. By the end of 2014, 150 women entrepreneurs will have participated in the program.