Having Fun While Doing Good – Our Summer Internship with Group AID
This summer, we interned with Group AID with the support of the INSEAD Hoffmann Institute Impact Internship Stipend.
Darrel led the organisation’s business development efforts for its latest proposition of CSR packages for corporates, while Chao Yang led efforts to uncover new workshop offerings for Group AID to expand its suite of services.
Group AID is a social enterprise which aims to provide the underserved with access to enrichment activities by offering charities free or discounted workshops for their beneficiaries.
It currently offers terrarium-making, balloon-sculpting, and bear-brick acrylic pour workshops.
Since its founding, Group AID has worked with 50+ charities to provide more than 80 workshops for 1000+ beneficiaries. These workshops are financed by profits generated when it conducts the same workshops for paying clients (e.g. corporates for their teambuilding events).
Group AID is keen to scale its impact in the community in a financially sustainable manner. Currently, the impact created is limited by Group AID’s finite resources since it subsidises the workshops out-of-pocket instead of relying on grants and donations.
To amplify the impact created, Group AID launched a series of CSR offerings where companies can choose to sponsor workshops for employees and beneficiaries to participate in as part of their employee engagement and community involvement efforts. This would allow employees to bond while doing good together, beneficiaries to continue benefitting from complimentary workshops, and Group AID to maintain financial sustainability.
Group AID is also keen to expand its offerings in a commercially viable manner. This not only allows it to provide beneficiaries with access to a wider range of enrichment activities, but also increases revenues which allows Group AID to re-invest in the social enterprise and create even more impact for the community.
What was the process you went through in your respective functions?
Darrel: I worked with the team to craft the CSR offerings and tested them with key opinion leaders (e.g., INSEAD’s Entrepreneurs-in-residence).
After several iterations, we finalised our proposition and began reaching out to companies who may be interested. We have reached out to 170+ companies so far and are currently in talks with 10 of them.
Chao Yang: I started by brainstorming 66 enrichment activities across nine categories, before formulating a framework to rank the enrichment activities based on criteria such as the potential social impact, market size and feasibility of offering these activities at Group AID.
One of the activities shortlisted was printmaking workshops. Leveraging my background in art, I helped to develop a pilot for these workshops.
What was the greatest challenge you faced and how did you overcome it?
Darrel: The greatest challenge I faced revolved around effectively reaching the right people with our offerings.
To overcome this challenge, I leveraged various channels such as email and LinkedIn, in addition to tapping into warm contacts, including the extensive INSEAD network.
Chao Yang: The information needed to evaluate the enrichment activities was not always readily available through desktop research.
We mitigated this by validating with personal contacts familiar with these activities and using similar activities we had information on as proxies.
What was your greatest takeaway?
Darrel: Every company is unique in terms of their CSR needs (e.g., budget, goals etc.), and it is important to personalise our offerings accordingly.
Chao Yang: It is important to develop and run a structured corporate intrapreneurship work process but also balance it with flexibility.
For example, we iterated on the framework to evaluate enrichment activities to ensure it is commercially viable and feasible for Group AID to implement.
What was your most memorable moment?
Darrel: I really enjoyed connecting with CSR and sustainability professionals on existing initiatives their companies have implemented to give back to the local communities, and how we can do more together!
Chao Yang: This will have to be the prototyping print-making workshop hands-down, where we were able to simulate the actual workshop and when the “moment of truth” of whether they were viable was revealed (quite literally in the case of the ink transfer!).
This internship experience was supported by the INSEAD Hoffmann Institute Impact Internship Stipend and gifts from alumni.