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Bosch associates spark enthusiasm for technology and a start-up culture
More knowledge, more ability, a better future – for more than ten years, this has been the motto of “Wissensfabrik - Unternehmen für Deutschland e.V.“ (Knowledge Factory: Companies for Germany). The initiative focuses on two areas. The first is education, and the aim here is to get children and young people interested in technology and business. With entrepreneurship, Wissenfabrik’s second sphere of activity, the initiative caters to students and up-and-coming entrepreneurs. In order to promote a start-up culture in Germany, Wissensfabrik brings start-ups and established market actors together and provides them with intensive knowledge-sharing opportunities.
As one of the founding members of Wissensfabrik, Bosch is actively involved in a number of projects. The active participation of its associates in these projects is one of the company’s priorities. Some 100 associates, among them senior executives, contribute their time as mentors or trainers across Germany each year. There are also 500 apprentices who help spark enthusiasm for science and technology. One example of a successful project is “KiTec – Kinder erleben Technik” (KiTec: Children experience technology), within the framework of which Bosch cooperates with 225 schools and daycare centers. Together with the apprentices, children work on their own technical projects such as homemade insect hotels or treasure chests. In the new “IT2School” project, apprentices introduce schoolchildren to digital learning. At present, Bosch engages in around 300 educational partnerships with daycare centers and schools.
Bosch executives advise start-ups and students
Students and start-ups also benefit from the initiative: thanks to mentoring programs, young entrepreneurs can present their innovative, technology-oriented ideas to experienced executives, who provide feedback and advice to up-and-coming companies. For instance, Franz Fehrenbach, the chairman of the Bosch supervisory board, is active in the Weconomy start-up competition, where he spends a weekend supporting the candidates as an advisor. Until now, 180 start-ups have received valuable mentoring support through the Wissensfabrik.
Since it was founded in 2005, the initiative has cooperated with around 2,500 schools and daycare centers. 700,000 children across Germany have benefited from a range of projects that have enabled them to develop their creativity, their teamwork skills, and their inventiveness. In order to guarantee high-quality programs, the Wissensfabrik cooperates with universities. Moreover, scientists evaluate the pedagogical value of the learning materials and give their stamp of approval before they are used.
More information on the Wissensfabrik can be found here (only in German available).
Bosch India provides warm meals to underprivileged school children
In India, many needy families face a dilemma: if they send their children to school, they often have too little money left over to pay for food. And if children have to work, they do not have access to education, cannot learn an occupation, and thus cannot escape poverty.
In order to provide these children with educational opportunities, Bosch India is supporting the construction of a canteen kitchen not far from the city of Bengaluru. As soon as February, the kitchen is set to start delivering warm lunches to 15,000 school children each day in the vicinity of the new Bosch manufacturing site in Bidadi. There are many state schools in the region that are attended mainly by children from poor families. “With the offer of a warm meal, we are providing families with an incentive to send their children to school,” explains Om Parkash Goel of Bosch India. “But we are also creating jobs: we need 80 employees to run the kitchen.” In addition to funding the project and providing all the required utensils, Bosch has also supported the project with its expertise in the areas of project and purchasing management.
The Indian NGO Akshaya Patra (“food bowl”) has carried out the project. The foundation has supported the education of underprivileged children since 2000 by providing them warm, healthy meals. Today, the organization offers lunch to as many as 1.7 million children at 13,529 schools each day. It has a far-reaching logistical network and expertise in preparing and distributing food for canteen kitchens. While Akshaya Patra is funded with state subsidies, corporate donations are an indispensable part of its budget. Bosch was referred to the Akshaya Patra Foundation by associates that volunteer for the NGO.
More information on the Akshaya Patra Foundation can be found here.
Picture by Akshaya Patra Foundation.
At the CEO Forum in Lagos, businesspeople discussed access to education for Nigerian youth
“Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning for all" is one of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which some 200 heads of state agreed upon at the end of September. In Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, the current social reality makes achieving this goal challenging: at present, more than 80 percent of the working age population does not have any specific qualifications, and around 60 percent of the unemployed have no occupational training (Source: Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, P.9 - only available in German).
Against this backdrop, the Nigerian non-profit organization CSR Children has set itself the aim of fighting high levels of youth unemployment in cooperation with businesses. To this end, the foundation organized the CEO Forum in October. Representatives from the public and private sectors including non-profit organization took part in the one day conference.
Bosch was also among the event's sponsors and participants. The company officially opened an office in Lagos, the Nigerian commercial capital, in June 2015. One of the most important orders of business for the company is offering young Nigerians high quality occupational training to secure its own supply of specialists. At the CEO Forum, Ghislain Noumbessy, General Manager of Robert Bosch Ltd Nigeria, introduced the company’s “Afrika kommt”-initiative: “Young people from Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya are undergoing a one year training programme at Bosch locations in Germany and will be offered a position in their respective country once the programme is completed”, Noumbessy said. Additionally, representatives of other companies such as Nestlé, Siemens and organizations such as the AHK Nigeria discussed the extent to which Europe's cooperative education model can be established in Nigeria.
Bosch has been working with Nigeria's National Automotive Council (NAC) since October 2014. The company and the public body share the aim of preparing Nigerian workshops for an increasingly motorized population. In addition to repair work, the partners also intend to offer training programs for mechanics and make modern equipment available to workshop operators.
With Nigeria, Bosch is now present in 9 African countries, and employs more than 760 associates in Africa.
More information on the CEO Forum can be found here.
More information on the non-profit organization CSR can be found here.