Why should Startups “Start” CSR

In the era of growing partnership and stiff competition building a successful business only on the financial terms is just not enough. The research reveals that in the coming years 90% of the customers will shift towards purchasing products from companies associated with good causes and environmental concerns. Fiinovation feels that CSR is no longer the obligation of larger corporations rather it is equally important for startups (if not mandatory through the introduction of Companies Act 2013) to introduce and integrate CSR and Sustainability practices in their business processes.

Fiinovation feels that CSR is one business practice which proves beneficial for every organization and every country at all levels of the business. However, startups have often raised the concern over devising cost-effective CSR strategy without creating an additional burden on their bank balance. But Fiinovation feels to make CSR a way of life, businesses need good intention first and money later.

Startups can commence their CSR activity by introducing them in their processes right from the beginning as it will create a strong foundation and also help in deriving multiple business benefits. They can utilize CSR to create positive work environment, minimize risks, creating employment opportunities, improving productivity, optimum utilization of resources and project accountability for the society and environment. By making CSR a part of their business strategy, startups will build a positive brand image eventually creating a strong value addition for business in any industry while competing in the international markets.

A recent example of CSR initiative by Ola Cabs during the Chennai floods has won the company accolades from all over the country. Ola Cabs had put boats in action helping people in flood effected areas to move in safe areas. Joining the league, Zomato and Paytym also poured help by donating food and offering free mobile phone recharges creating long lasting impact in the hearts of people in trouble.

Mr. Sandeep Murthy, partner at Lightbox, a Mumbai based venture capital firm, said that these CSR activities at startups can be looked upon through various perspective. “For the customer, it is encouraging to know that the brand you are associating with has a cause as well and for the employee, they feel that they don’t work just for the money, they see meaning to their jobs and for the company it is reach that traditional marketing activities couldn’t achieve,” he said.

Fiinovation believes that since CSR offers huge competitive advantage to startups hence it is imperative that startups should also now proactively start working towards integrating CSR with business benefits even if they are doing it at the smaller scale as compared to large corporations.

By – Manisha Bhatia

Media & Communications

Fiinovation

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