Social Responsibility is a Measure of Success

Social Responsibility

One could argue that social responsibility is one of the most important core values an organization can have. Indeed, in the values statement itself we state our belief that profitability cannot be our only measure of success.

We are incredibly privileged to live in a part of the world where most of us never see the kind of need that is experienced in much of the rest of the world. There is an old proverb that says, “To whom much is given, much is expected.” We have indeed been given much, and we believe it’s our responsibility to give back wherever we can.

Environmentally – We ensure we’re recycling and making the best use of our resources to minimize waste. We endeavour to be fiscally responsible and we share profits with our employees at the end of each year based on the company’s profitability.

Locally – Iridia allows every staff member three paid days per year to engaged in volunteer activities. We want our employees to be invested in their communities, and encourage the giving of their time to organizations that need their help. We give to local charities in the way of sponsorships and gifts during their fundraising campaigns.

Regionally – Recently, we have decided to support a BC-based organization or charity. We asked for staff participation in suggesting projects worthy of our support and then did a survey to determine which project people were most interested in getting involved with.

Internationally – For the first time this year, Iridia partnered with Kiva.org, an organization that facilitates giving micro loans to entrepreneurs in third-world countries. These loans enable them to start businesses that will move them out of poverty and allow them to support their families and build their local economies. We’re excited to see where these business people will be a year from now, and intend on continuing to support to these kinds of endeavours in the future.

There are lots of ways to measure success and Social Responsibility, and businesses who are leaders in the marketplace make sure they pay attention to all success factors. These activities keep us ground and grateful, and what could be more important than that?

 

Iridia Medical + Kiva = Social Responsibility

What is Microlending?

In the 1970’s, Nobel Prize winning economist Dr. Muhammad Yunus set out to find a way to provide bank loans to those entrepreneurs who were “too poor” for traditional bank loans.

During visits to the poorest households in the village of Jobra near Chittagong University, Bangladesh, Yunus discovered through his own lending, even very small loans could make a disproportionate difference to a poor person – and so microlending was born.

Microlending, in a nutshell, is the lending of very small amounts. These loans on their own do not amount to much, but when combined with many lenders, they make a huge impact. 

“Money goes, but it never comes back,” says Yunus when comparing philanthropy to microlending; providing a great example of how microlending is more sustainable than its philanthropic counterpart.

What is Kiva?

Kiva is a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Leveraging the internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world.http://blog.iridiamedical.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Kiva-logo.jpg

Kiva Statistics

  • 850,000 Kiva lenders
  • $379+ million in loans
  • 98.98% Repayment rate
  • 171 Field Partners
  • 450 volunteers around the world
  • 66 different countries

Why?
Kiva envisions a world where all people – even in the most remote areas of the globe – hold the power to create opportunity for themselves and others. They believe providing safe, affordable access to capital to those in need helps people create better lives for themselves and their families.

Social Responsibility at Iridia

Why are we so interested in the concept of microlending? Well to put it simply, microlending allows us to do much more with less!

Almost two years ago, Iridia began lending through Kiva.org. We saw an opportunity to give even more to those who are less fortunate. Since then, we have made 22 loans to 16 different countries around the world. For more information, view our lending portfolio.

Recently however, we hosted a brand launch party to celebrate the journey toward updating our brand and choosing a new name ideally suited to our company.

Kiva Iridia

As part of the celebration, we made a new contribution to Kiva on behalf of all of our guests. But we didn’t stop there, we wanted our guests to choose the next loans themselves by selecting a Gender, a Location and a Sector they would like us to lend to. However, due to the constant variability of borrowers on Kiva – at the time we placed the loans, certain borrower categories were unavailable to us. For example, we had a difficult time finding female borrowers from Africa (a popular choice among our guests). With future Kiva loans, we will look to fulfill any missed popular categories. Thank you to everyone who made a selection!

Based on choices available to us, we selected the following four individuals:

k1 k4 k3 k2

Top 100 Fastest Growing Companies = Time to Say Thanks Again

It is truly hard to believe that a year has gone by since Iridia found itself on Business in Vancouver’s list of Top 100 Fastest Growing companies.   At that time we were both humbled and proud to find ourselves listed amongst some of the BC greatest up and coming companies.

business in vancouver

In the intervening months, we have added new staff, settled into our office on 3rd Avenue, and have renewed our commitment to living our corporate values.   We successfully completed our first corporate fitness challenge, ran our inaugural AED online giveaway, and we further cemented our associated with Kiva.  Throughout the journey we have, as many other organizations have, looked for creative ways to share our experiences with through Social Media.  In short, it has been another great year characterized by traditional levels of intensity, but this time also infused with additional new reasons for excitement.

When we received word that we had again achieved Top 100 status, we again felt incredibly fortunate to have had the year we did.  And so, it is again time to give thanks.  Thanks for our clients for believing in us and allowing us to serve them, to our partners for working alongside us, and to the Iridia team for their efforts in moving us toward greatness.

We can’t predict exactly what will happen in the coming year, but from what we do know, there are some very exciting things coming up, so do stay tuned.

Kiva – Give the Gift of Opportunity

In the 1970’s, Nobel Prize winning economist Dr. Muhammad Yunus set out to find a way to provide bank loans to those entrepreneurs who were “too poor” for traditional bank loans.

During visits to the poorest households in the village of Jobra near Chittagong University, Bangladesh, Yunus discovered through his own lending, even very small loans could make a disproportionate difference to a poor person – and so microlending was born.

Microlending, in a nutshell, is the lending of very small amounts. These loans on their own do not amount to much, but when combined with many lenders, they make a huge impact. For example, fifty people can each lend $50.00 to finance a much larger $2500.00 loan.

Watch Dr. Muhammad Yunus explain what it means to microlend during a Rotary International speech:

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/41771196]

“Money goes, but it never comes back,” says Yunus when comparing philanthropy to microlending; providing a great example of how microlending is more sustainable than its philanthropic counterpart.

Why are we interested in the concept of microlending? It allows our team at Iridia to do so much more with less!

Kiva

In September last year, Iridia jumped into the fast moving river of microlending through Kiva.org. We saw an opportunity to give even more to those who are less fortunate.

Instead of sending a one-time donation to an individual in need, we are able to send out many loans using the same initial funds. When one loan begins to be repaid, we finance another.

To get the whole team involved, each month, one of our staff members is chosen to pick the next loan of his/her choice.

So far, microlending through Kiva has allowed us to help eight individuals around the world, from Peru to Rwanda.

Take a look at our Kiva Portfolio for a detailed view of our microlending activity:

Connect, Innovate… and Battle Poverty?

Sometimes people find themselves at a crossroad, a crossroad that sends them down a path to never escape. In one direction there is a beam of radiant light that emits glowing success, and most likely a nice fresh tropical breeze. At the other end there is a rocky road of poverty that leads down a crevice that cannot be scaled.

Guess which path most individuals find themselves dragged into? Let us just say there will be a long rocky road.

Here’s where www.Kiva.org steps in. They essentially facilitate a funding operation for those who are not in a position to help themselves financially. All over the world people are coming up with ideas and plans, all they need is just a little help to make their plans a reality. Unfortunately their ideas usually never take hold. This isn’t to say they are not trying, rather these individuals just do not have the opportunities or resources to make it happen.

The one interesting facts of Kiva is that it isn’t just a donation site. Kiva focuses on lending money only and the recipients must pay back the loan within a stated time frame. By loaning money you are enabling someone’s dream to come true.

There are three simple steps, and here’s how it works:

Step 1

Find someone who you want to lend money too. There are thousands to choose from, each with a unique idea and plan.

Step 2

Choose your loan. It works in $25 increments up to the maximum amount the individual is looking for.

Step 3

Get repaid based upon the scheduled repayment plan.

The process is simple and that’s why we at Iridia have chosen to play a part in this wonderful service.  As of now we have made loans to three individuals who are looking to start something special.

1. Natsagdorj Munguntsetseg (Auto Parts, Mongolia)
http://www.kiva.org/lend/335461

2. Eustacia Chozo Zeña De Acosta (Livestock, Peru)

http://www.kiva.org/lend/333558

3. Amina Jalilova (Clothing, Azerbaijan)
http://www.kiva.org/lend/333790

We look forward to seeing what they can do and will keep you posted on their success. Let’s see if we can change statistics like the one below!!

– You become a bank for people who have generally been ignored by banks –

Population living on less than a dollar (US) a day.