International telecom brand Tele2 has set out to distinguish itself from competitors by being a “Responsible Challenger.” In Croatia, together with Reach for Change, Tele2 is taking corporate responsibility to a new level by pushing the development of an ecosystem of social entrepreneurship.
In 2018, for the first time in Croatia, stakeholders from the corporate and non-profit sector came together to develop sustainable strategies to address social challenges for children and youth. At the Barrier Breaking session, hosted by Tele2 and Reach for Change, business people worked in teams with social entrepreneurs to overcome strategic barriers. As a result, the social entrepreneurs have been able to further scale innovations that empower children with disabilities and increase access to education in underprivileged areas.
The Barrier Breaking Session is one of the ways that Tele2 lets its staff use their specific expertise to address pressing social challenges. In addition, in 2018, almost the entire team of Tele2, from new recruits to the CEO, has been actively engaged in selecting and supporting the social entrepreneurs in the Reach for Change incubator. During the selection process, Tele2 employees gave their feedback on applications. Taking ownership and building engagement, the staff offered valuable input to the process for Reach for Change and had a say in what type of projects they wanted to support.
Reach for Change and Tele2 continuously seek out opportunities to leverage Tele2’s technology, communication platforms and network to further scale the impact of the programs and the link to Tele2’s core business. As one of the pilot projects during 2018, Reach for Change and Tele2 initiated a program where Tele2’s prepaid users could donate funds directly to Change Leaders. Besides providing a small but valuable funding source for the enterprises (Tele2 customers donated around HRK 20,000 — just over $3,000 USD) it provided great visibility for the social entrepreneurs and their causes and enabled Tele2 to get their users engaged in making a difference. It also allowed the customers to identify themselves with the cause Tele2 was promoting and to “adopt” the CL’s projects as their own — all of which allows Tele2 to form stronger and more trusting relationships with its customers.
“When talking about CSR, what sets Tele2 apart from the others is the fact that we approach corporate philanthropy, corporate volunteering and donations in a systematic way. We are targeting five areas, of which I would particularly emphasize the importance of child protection. In this area, through our partnership with Reach for Change, we have supported 12 social entrepreneurs whose ideas are directed towards solving pressing issues for children. This partnership has proven to systematically empower social entrepreneurship with both financial support and the valuable knowledge of partners involved.”
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