The gap between rich and poor has increased in almost every region of the world over the last four decades, according to the World Inequality Report published in December 2017 by French economist Thomas Piketty. Since 1980, the top 0.1 percent of wealth owners captured almost 50% of the world’s growth. In January 2017, the World Economic Forum found rising income inequality and the polarization of sectors in societies. They are key underlying trends likely to shape the world over the next decade.
How do we resolve the problems of inequality and polarization and create an equal and harmonious society? People need a decent job to have financial independence. A job provides a social network, an opportunity to develop and a chance to contribute to the community. It gives a person dignity, pride, and hope. Underprivileged people have less opportunity for a job creating a vicious cycle of poverty, despair, and anger.
We are a part of a global movement who believe that a company can be a force of positive social change. Companies create jobs, supporting a person, a family, a community and a country. A public benefit corporation, a legal structure available in the US and Italy are for companies that balance purpose and profit. People want to work for, buy from, and invest in businesses they believe in. B-lab leads a global movement of entrepreneurs using the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.
B-corporations blend the impact focus of nonprofit organizations and operational efficiency of the corporation. Our employees are owners of the company who actively participate in growing the company thus creating a bigger social impact. We practice the highest standard of governance, transparency, efficiency, and collaboration.
Aster International provides decent jobs to the youth, women, and underprivileged, a public benefit corporation registered in the US. We solve the youth unemployment problem, a global crisis which has the potential to have significant and serious social repercussions leading to social exclusion and unrest. Investing in decent job creation as well as in training opportunities will help them find their place and contribute to more prosperous and stable societies.
Aster International has two centers in operation: Bdar Center in Saudi Arabia and Astra Centar in Croatia.
We bridge this gap by securing vacancies from the companies, find unqualified applicants and train them to meet the job requirements through the customized training. This helps companies to find qualified candidates to grow their business and help applicants to find a job. We give priority to women as they currently make up only 15% of the workforce. We develop retired business executives to be trainers and coaches to support the unemployed youth.
In 5 years, we aim to have 9,000 training days and find a job for 14,000 people. We have plans to expand into other countries in the Gulf facing similar challenges: high youth unemployment rate, a large youth population and the localization of the workforce.
Astra Centar Croatia solves the workforce shortage crippling the country from growing the tourism industry due to brain drain. We bring people from countries where there are no jobs due to political and economic instability such as Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Honduras, and more. We find jobs for foreign workers from the Middle East who have lost employment due to the localization of the workforce. We bring job opportunities to people from communities where there are conflicts and people are suffering. We first secure jobs from the companies and match a job with applicants. We act as a link between companies and applicants providing them support for cultural integration, and career growth.
Croatia needs a workforce who will integrate into
We are actively partnering with organizations who are significantly affected by the workforce shortage. In January, we signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the Zagreb Caterers Association to solidify our commitment to socially responsible hiring and helping the industry solve its growing problem of workforce shortage.
We continue to connect with different local organizations to bring awareness to our socially responsible business model. Just recently, we organized an information session in partnership with the Croatian Chamber of Commerce – the County Chamber of Commerce Dubrovnik and the Chamber of Commerce of Dubrovnik-Neretva County and presented Astra Centar’s solution to their workforce problem.
Throughout the coast of Croatia, hotels and inns are facing the dilemma of closing their business due to the lack of skilled workers. Our information session provided valuable information on our process and convinced local hotel owners and companies of the need to bring in foreign workers to augment the widening workforce gap.
We balance our social impact focus and revenue having sustainability and interdependence.
Our team members are guided by our values and driven by the purpose. Our clients receive the best value in the market. Our investors receive a blended return on investment: financial plus social impact. The community we operate increase their capacity and capabilities with our support. We work in partnership with our vendors growing their business while growing ours. Our clients get to participate in the social impact process synchronizing their business with corporate social responsibility program.
We are one of the few thousand companies in the world who is using the companies to change the world. Please join our efforts. We need you as an advocate, a team member, an investor, and an advisor.
Written by Leah Zveglich, CEO of Aster International