This article was originally published on The Business Times.


CERTIS is so committed to making plans for its "do-good" activities that such programmes are sure to be on the management's agenda at the start of each financial year.

Robin Goh, the senior vice-president and head of group communications and marketing for the provider of multi-disciplinary security and integrated services, said: "Even as we conduct our business, we help the community through initiatives developed in partnership with local charities and social service organisations across countries such as Singapore and Australia."

Companies can do good in many ways, but when this is done in a strategic manner that makes use of their core business competencies, they can create value not only for the beneficiaries, but for their own businesses as well. Certis, for one, believes that integrating goodness as part of its business operations and forging strategic long-term partnerships open new avenues and pathways for the company to grow and succeed.

"Besides growing the brand as a socially responsible citizen, such activities can also boost recruitment among the younger generation, who want to work with organisations that stand for and support a cause," Goh said.

Since 2018, Certis has partnered like-minded organisations to develop inclusive programmes for the well-being of its beneficiaries, and to drive employee engagement and volunteerism by organising regular outreach programmes to help the community.

One such initiative is its year-long Dare to Dream programme in partnership with the Singapore Disability Sports Council (SDSC). Its aim? To encourage more persons with disabilities to lead active and healthy lives, as well as to realise their sporting ambitions.

Certis committed a donation of S$30,000 to kick-start the programme in February 2022. A key programme under the project is the Certis Superheroes Challenge, under which both Certis and SDSC identify new talents and groom the next generation of para athletes. Certis employees have been actively involved in this programme and have been trained as para sports facilitators.

Dare to Dream also helps the national goalball women's team by supporting its travel overseas to participate in competitions, such as the Asean Para Games this year, where the team bagged a silver medal.

Goh said: "One other key initiative is our Community Give-Back programme, developed in partnership with The Business Times' Budding Artists Fund (BT BAF). The programme aims to inculcate the spirit of giving back, with a focus on equipping disadvantaged children and youth with resilience and the ability to adapt to unpredictable environments - traits necessary to thrive in times of rapid change."

Community Give-Back was launched in 2019. Since then, 100 Certis employees have engaged with 150 BT BAF children and youth.

Another company that has got on the bandwagon of doing good is GEX Ventures, a global business consultancy and real estate investment firm.

The company's executive chairman, Patrick Liew, said: "We seek to be a catalyst for change, using our relationships with stakeholders, our public events and our platform to challenge others to give back."

Elizabeth Liew, head of CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) and Special Projects in the company, said: "Our early work with youth was in the more conventional space of helping those from disadvantaged families with food and financial assistance, but we have since branched out to partner with organisations that help youth in more holistic ways."

In 2008, Dr Patrick Liew co-founded Junior Achievement Singapore, a part of the Nobel prize-nominated JA Worldwide network, which equips youth with 21st century skills such as financial and environmental literacy.

Junior Achievement Singapore reached out to 19,895 students in 2020-2021 and worked with 2,107 volunteers.

"We are convinced that corporates are an essential partner in creating a society that is kind, responsible and equitable. No individual or company operates in a vacuum, and we have a duty to give back to the society that we are based in," he said.

Elizabeth Liew said that another organisation they reached out to was the Wrestling Federation of Singapore.

"We similarly provided the federation with physical office space, financial support, board membership, professional services, volunteer recruitment and fund-raising help. The federation uses the inspiration and camaraderie of sport to reach out to at-risk youth."

GEX Ventures' business expertise in diverse areas such as marketing, finance and leadership management has enabled it to help non-profit groups with less expertise in this area. When asked about the benefits to the company from such collaborating with non-profit organisations to give back, Dr Patrick Liew said that CSR efforts have improved their relationships with customers.

"It has also helped our brand image and connected us to partners and stakeholders that share the same values."

Elizabeth Liew said: "We are very appreciative of the community of corporates and non-profits that the NVPC (National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre) has worked hard to grow. We have had the opportunity to learn from companies giving back in diverse and interesting ways, and have also been able to introduce some of our charity partners to other potential corporate donors and partners."

Certis, GEX Ventures