When I started this Medium page (You can’t really call it a blog), I made a pact that it would be a forum for the explanation, exploration, and promotion of the ideas about which I’m so passionate. This included everything from how good economics can alleviate poverty, to solutions for the call center industry, to ideas on how to be a fair trade entrepreneur.
The one thing I’ve not done is open self-promotion, especially of my businesses.
Thus far in my career, I’ve written little professionally and I’ve little experience as an author. Regardless, I do know that any author has a sacred compact with their reader — a promise based on their initial interaction. The reader comes to the author with an open mind about what they will get for their time, and the author makes them a promise that they will give them words representing ideas in line with that basic promise. If you read Stephen King, you expect to be horrified.
As a reader, if you come back to my page, you expect to hear thought-provoking ideas about economics, poverty, call centers, and entrepreneurship. I vow this as a solemn promise I do not want to break.
Today I am breaking it, I think, and you can certainly tell me in the comments if I’m doing the right thing. Today, I want to present to you the first ever Fair Trade Outsourcing Impact Report.
(Author’s Note: If you see other Impact Reports, you’re welcome to download them, too. This article was written when we first published our Impact Reports. Since then, we’ve had 5 more reports published.)
You can read about Fair Trade Outsourcing here, and what is the social impact here. In the initial post that established this page and my professional writing, I spoke about workers’ rights and Robert Owen, and how when capital and labor work in harmony together, anything is possible. Later, I talked about how the BPO industry has, and still can, lift millions of people in the developing world out of poverty.
The first Fair Trade Outsourcing Impact Report we produced has a less refined data set; nevertheless, the information it provided has been insightful and became an inspiration for us to continue digging deeper into the results.
The results support the ideas about which I feel so passionate — the BPO industry’s ability to lift people out of poverty. It’s the first report card we’ve ever done on our own little economic system and the first hard data that we have ever collected to know that this system is working as designed — lifting people out of poverty, getting them into the middle class with BPO employment, and eventually creating new capital owners.
There were many surprises in this report that are worth highlighting. First, we were shocked by how many dependents each of our agents were solely responsible for. Similarly, we were surprised at how many agents are the primary breadwinners for their families — especially knowing that most of our agents are in their early-to-mid 20’s — a lot of responsibility for such young people.
And, there are big things that we can improve. Specifically:
- Only 25% of our agents own private transportation; 75% are relying on public transportation. That’s actually an easy problem for us to solve — more on that later.
- 11% of our agents are spending a significant portion of their monthly income on medicines for their dependents — who can’t get access to company health care insurance coverage because of the restrictive rules of the Philippine health insurance system.
- About 10% of our agents are already capital owners. They’ve done it with no training and in any way possible. We can do better in a fairly easy way.
We still have a lot to do. Some things will be easier than others. But ultimately, we’ve gotten our first report card, and our grades show that we can achieve a lot.
Now it’s time to scale it, so we can impact more and more lives around the globe.