[BB31] Between Business and the Community

Between Business and the Community
By student reporter ANNY LIU
There is a growing trend for the business sector to reach out to the community through the concept of corporate social responsibility and for the NGOs to adopt business models and incorporate business ideas in their operation. Aimed at promoting cross-sector collaboration, the Citi-HKCSS Community Intern Program 2014 is a recent initiative designed to enable business students from Hong Kong universities to undertake a two-month summer internship at local NGOs working in various areas, e.g. low-income family support, the elderly, disability, education, environment and more.
This year, seven BBA students from HKBU School of Business have been selected to join the programme.
Being one of the interns, I spent my last summer with the 1st Step Association, a NGO specialized in serving occupational injured quadriplegic persons and their families. As a student majoring in finance, I had the opportunity to apply my business knowledge to the daily operation and further development of the organisation. I was involved in the analysis of the financial reports and brand building of 1st Step Association, which included making a promotional video, seeking sponsorships and planning a premiere charity event.
The Induction Program held prior to the internship certainly helped us get a better understanding of the NGO sector in Hong Kong and prepared us to manage a variety of tasks and projects during the internship.
At the concluding recognition ceremony, I had the honour to be nominated to present a thank-you card of my own design to one of the organisers, Citigroup, on behalf of 80 interns.
I also met with two other interns from BBA programme to talk about their own internship experiences - Tam Mui Yi Pansy is a Year 3 student majoring in China Business Studies and Au Him Shun David is a Year 3 student majoring in Human Resources Management.
Pansy Tam was assigned to the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups (HKFYG), tasked with the planning of the Dragon 100 programme, a significant youth initiative organised by HKFYG. In addition to the design of the programme rundown, Pansy was asked to draft invitation letters to some celebrities to attend the event, one of whom was Ma Yun, CEO of Alibaba. It was where the skills she learnt from the course of Business Communications came in handy.
Actually, it was not Pansy’s first time to work for the NGO. Prior to interning at HKFYG, she once served at a NGO helping women with depression. “I really enjoy the working environment and the team spirit in NGOs; after having completed the Citi-HKCSS Community Intern Program, I have now decided to pursue a career in the field of NGOs after graduation,” Pansy said.
With her business knowledge and first-hand internship experience with two NGOs, Pansy has come to recognise the similarities between business and NGO sectors. “I hope to contribute to the communication between the two sectors.”
The other BBA student, David Au, also had a rewarding experience with Hong Kong Evangelical Church Yan Lam Community Service Centre in Sheung Shui. David was given two main tasks: organising a jumble sale and engaging wholesalers in a partnership for group buying.
Given that most of the residents from that part of Sheung Shui are of low-income families, the activities held by David’s internship host organisation are designed to cater the specific needs of the local community.
The jumble sale was an event at which second-hand goods collected from the local residents were put on sale. For each item, David helped evaluate the value of the used goods based on the signs of wear and tear, as well as the potential to be recycled. “Through the sale we aimed to arouse locals’ awareness about recycling and environmental protection,” said David.
The second challenge for David was group-buying. The concept was to buy food and daily necessities from partner wholesalers in bulk and resell them to local residents at prices much lower than those in the market. “It is a non-profit making initiative. We just want to help more people by making things more affordable.”
Organising these activities turned out to be a good training opportunity for David, as a student of Human Resources Management, to polish his communication skills. “I’ve got to meet and interact with people with different backgrounds - new immigrants, kids, older people, the unemployed and many more. It was a precious working experience for me to apply and advance my own business knowledge.”