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Canadian B Corp SureCall Extends Reach Through Social Enterprise Projects
Most of us want to make a positive change in the world, but how can businesses do that and keep the mandate of sustainability and success within an organization? SureCall made an intentional pivot from profit-driven to purpose-driven in 2016. What started as a way to engage clients through community giving evolved into a program that now spans the globe in impact.
The founders of SureCall always had clarity around the expectation that businesses should contribute to the communities they serve. However, being industry-leading simply by writing a cheque was not all that compelling to SureCall CEO Desirée Bombenon or her team members. To be part of the change, they felt they needed to demonstrate a more robust commitment and create change themselves.
Based in Calgary, Alberta, SureCall is a business process optimization contact center that provides outsourced services across several industries and around the world. In June 2019, SureCall became a Certified B Corporation, formalizing its commitment to use business as a force for good.
SureCall started its community program by giving customers an opportunity to donate 2% of their invoice to a SureCall partner charity. This 2% would come directly off SureCall’s top-line revenue and not add additional cost to the customer.
This program paved the way for SureCall to make a difference by simply serving its clients and giving team members a more concrete mission to guide their work. “Doing good with every call” became the SureCall mantra and “empowering our partners and transforming the world” became its vision.
SureCall is part of the community of Certified B Corporations. Learn more about this growing movement of people using business as a force for good, and sign up to receive the B the Change Weekly newsletter for more stories like this one, delivered straight to your inbox once a week.
Lead with Purpose
Becoming a purpose-driven organization was the first step for SureCall. The next step: becoming a sustainable, diversified and inclusive business. This started with working to reduce the company’s carbon footprint and shape its company culture.
SureCall began by putting in place strategies to create environmental efficiencies, starting with a clean desk tradition, going paperless, then bringing recycling and compost bins to the kitchen. Next steps included the digitization of platforms and services, with contract and documents moved to soft copy electronic formats to cut costs and reduce waste. SureCall also shifted to partner with suppliers who advocate for sustainability.
Engaging the Team
To build community and enthusiasm among its workers, SureCall provides opportunities for them to truly make a difference.
The B Corp’s Volunteer Wednesday program, in place since 2013, empowers team members to choose a charity where they can spend a day volunteering. Whether it’s serving meals at the Mustard Seed, packing groceries at the Foodbank, or planting flowers for the YWCA, SureCall workers invest time with organizations in need of support. Each month the team gets excited about the next opportunity to give back to the community through the Volunteer Wednesday Program that also creates a sense of community and pride, upholding the values and purpose of SureCall.
The GoodCall Program
In 2016, Bombenon launched the company’s GoodCall program to assist community nonprofits or registered charities by giving back a percentage of annual revenues.
Through the GoodCall program, SureCall created a partnership with Alberta Promise, a provincial government initiative that encourages businesses, nonprofit organizations, and communities to collaborate and enhance programs and services for children and youth. As the program grew so did the capacity for SureCall to pursue a global platform.
SureCall integrated GoodCall into its financial model, creating a funding stream that builds throughout the year and sustains the program while also broadening its impact. Further, the funds were collected as a top-line item in the financial reports. Why the top line? This held the company accountable and ensured SureCall positioned itself for sustainability while prioritizing the importance of its decision to be a social enterprise.
Global Impact and Hero Girls
With the success of the GoodCall program and SureCall’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, it decided to take this initiative globally.
In 2017 Bombenon was accepted into the Harvard Advanced Leadership Initiative program. She moved to Boston for a year to immerse herself in the program, which focused on finding solutions to the world’s most critical humanitarian issues. Upon return, she launched Hero Girls, an international program to educate and empower females in underserved and developing communities.
Facilitated by Her International, a Canadian registered charity founded in 2005, the yearlong Hero Girls program covers topics like entrepreneurship, financial literacy, self-confidence, mental health, and mindfulness while featuring an Innovation Project where participants can implement ideas around economic and social change in their communities.
The pilot project launched in January 2019 in Dang, Nepal, and will run for three years. The stats to date:
- 70 girls taking the Hero Girls leadership and entrepreneurship course.
- 35 girls launching entrepreneurship “innovation projects.”
- 55 girls receiving scholarships.
- Three new mothers groups starting.
- 35 women receiving literacy training.
This comprehensive program is the first of its kind to see participants giving something back, as each graduate goes on to mentor other young women in the community by attending the subsequent course delivery as a teacher trainer. The entrepreneurial program will be supported by microcredit loans, and successful startups will endeavor to also pay it forward by contributing a small percentage of revenue back into the program.
The Hero Girls program aims to create a worldwide network of young women who are changing the world at a systemic level and getting the necessary education to turn “dreamers into leaders” through self-confidence and self-reliance. In its first three years the program endeavors to advance over 500 girls with scholarships and impact over 5,500 individuals in their communities.
SureCall continued its efforts to advance and advocate globally for children through the Cape Wine Auction Trust which was created to raise money for education of children in the South African Winelands. As a part of the GoodCall program, Bombenon visited the Cape Winelands and was able to participate in the annual fundraiser that took place in March 2019. She chose two programs to sponsor: one that is providing 35,000 nutritious meals to at-risk youth in the Cape Winelands area, and another that will fund the material and tools for 42 early childhood practitioners, so they can do their best work in the early development years of these children.
Through GoodCall, SureCall has been able to support over 10 projects in 2019—locally, nationally, and internationally—amounting to over $250,000 in donations and sponsorships, and over 2,000 hours of volunteer work by their team for various charities and programs. The focus on education, gender parity, and children are the humanitarian issues that SureCall’s team believes it can affect at the systemic level—and how the B Corp can truly make positive change in the world.
B the Change gathers and shares the voices from within the movement of people using business as a force for good and the community of Certified B Corporations. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the nonprofit B Lab.
How to Create Global Impact Through Your Company’s Everyday Operations was originally published in B the Change on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.