Samsung Foundation gives lowdown on their role of education in SA!

 SLM: Samsung Africa has invested substantially in education, why is that?

 KM: We seek to develop skilful young African leaders through such investment.

Our global citizenship programme – Samsung’s Hope for Children – is one such example. We want to start highlighting our CSR 3.0 approach, which we call Common Shared Value (CSV). The difference with the previous CSR 2.0 practice is that we now focus entirely on profit/ commercial maximisation and creating both business/commercial and social development value.

The approach is driven by this mutual benefit, rather than Corporate Accountability that underlined the earlier versions of CSR – and therefore has long term sustainability.

So, in terms of direct youth and educational impact we would highlight:

• Samsung Electronics Engineering Academy that seeks to develop skillful young African leaders who are adequately prepared for the world of employment and SME.

The benefit for Samsung is the production of a cohort of relevantly skilled youth who are able to hit the ground running once they enter the service centres, assembly plants and/or call centres.

The more young people we can develop with skills in the electronics industry the more we can be assured of our ability to provide quality service, maintenance and support to our customers and consumers. It is for this reason why we continue to invest in and promote such a programme.

• The Solar-Powered Internet Schools, Solar Power Generator and Solar-Powered Health Centres ensure that youth attain the 21st century skills for employability, again ensuring that they have the necessary skills required to enter the workplace.

Through Samsung Hope for Children, our more than 50 subsidiaries and 180,000 employees worldwide partner with leading non-profit organisations to effect positive change.

By supplying Samsung products, lending our expertise and providing financial support, we are able to give thousands of children in communities around the world access to education, mentorship, leadership skills and life-saving medical treatment.

In line with this global focus, we are focused on developing young skilful leaders in Africa, for Africa’s future. The path that we have mapped for this includes the four core corporate social responsibility programmes that we are involved in Africa namely; Solar Powered Internet Schools, Samsung Engineering Academies, the Solar Power Mobile clinics, and more recently our Dream the Blues campaign, amongst others.

To ensure we can meet our target of impacting 5 million lives by 2015.

It’s all about actively participating in the communities in which we operate not just entering them. It’s about partnerships, sustainable investments and building long term sustainability for the future of Africa and its people.

SLM: What are ROIs for Samsung Africa with regard to education in this country and what other corporates can learn from you?

KM: For us skills development is critical as it aligns directly to our business offerings. By setting up the Engineering Academy for instance, Samsung was investing ahead of the curve in Africa to ensure that we have a pool of trained service technicians to realise our vision of having a manufacturing plant in Africa.

SLM: If you invest so heavily in education, why is SA still performing poorly as opposed to other states globally?

KM: Education is one of the most powerful instruments for reducing poverty and inequality and lays the foundation for sustained economic growth. In line with this, Samsung’s goal is to create an environment that would facilitate learning for whole communities in remote areas that otherwise don’t have access to education tools or internet connectivity.

We are an electronics company first and foremost and as such, we can only contribute to improving education in that capacity – which is through

technology – which is exactly what we have done and where we have initiated such projects, the results have been positive.

In fact, having launched the Samsung Solar Powered Internet Schools (SPIS) in October 2011, the impact and results that such innovation has had on community development has started to surface.

The SPIS has been stationed at Phomolong Secondary School in Tembisa for approximately 10 months and over this time the matric pass rate increased from 89% the previous year to 97% at the end of 2012 an increase of 8%.

Commenting on these results, the principal, (Mr Thoka) had only praise for the SPIS: “I attribute this success mainly due to the SPIS as the students not only had a platform for interactive learning, but with online access, they had dramatically improved research functionality as well as the full curriculum to facilitate their learning processes. Previously the only option available to them was the use of the public library and given the fact that the library closed at 16h00 – meant constraints in time and resources for study.”

The response for such solutions has been incredible. The SPIS’s unique value proposition is that it runs on its own, at no cost, given that it uses solar power to generate electricity. Furthermore with its portability, green framework, interactive learning and customised curriculum per country, it’s easy to see why there has been such a strong interest from the Ministries of Education across Africa.

200 000 children have benefited from our Solar Powered Internet School in six countries to date and Samsung are in the process of training more staff in East and West Africa to expand this.

The Samsung Engineering Academy are currently piloting in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria and will scale to other countries in 2015.

SLM: The kind of products Samsung produces, what role do they play in enhancing society?

KM: Samsung’s key concern has been, and will continue to be, how do we develop the technology to resolve the continent’s challenges? How do we contribute to building a smarter Africa? The answer: Built For Africa technology. And every technology product plays a role in enhancing either work or play.

SLM: As opposed to your rivals, how often does Samsung produce/unveil new products per year?

KM: Samsung, as a company, is a leading, innovative technology provider and will always take advantage of this by delivering products to market that enable a Smarter Lifestyle and simpler living where any upcoming product launches will be in line with this thinking.

As we have numerous product portfolios spanning everything from mobile phones to LED lighting – we are constantly innovating and developing and when the time is right, we unveil to the market – which is usually a few times a year, depending on the portfolio.

SLM: Currently, what is the brand equity/value of Samsung in SA and globally?

SK: Samsung is one of the biggest successes of 2012, marked by a meteoric 40% rise in brand value globally. In fact, Samsung has climbed the ranks in Interbrand’s Best Global Brands Report for 2012, ranking 9th among the Top 10 brands for the first time in its history.

The market growth witnessed by Samsung over the past year is underpinned by our ability to drive constantly and reinvent of our product offerings and our ability to innovate and adapt to the changing needs of the global and African market. Being recognised as one of the Top 10 Best Global Brands is evidence of our success.

Samsung have and will continue to focus on successfully building products for the needs of Africans, from a Business to Business, Business to Government and Business to Consumer perspective. We are exceptionally proud of this recognition, which reinforces our brand strategy of mapping global brand equity to local outreach demonstrating that Samsung are not only global players, but certainly highly-rated and respected Africa investors.

SLM: Is Samsung unhappy with IT & infrastructure in SA?

KM: Samsung is pleased to be doing business in SA, given its business enabling environment and market potential.

SLM: Apart from education, which other projects/events does SAMSUNG supports/sponsors and WHY?

KM: Samsung will always look to sponsor events that we are passionate about. Examples of this globally include the sponsorship of some of the world’s leading sporting events including the Olympic Games, athletics and many other football tournaments over the years.

Samsung have sponsored some highly renowned soccer clubs including the world-famous Chelsea Football Club of the English Premier League since 2005. The company has also supported major soccer championship games in each of the continents of which AFCON is their focus for Africa.

However having said that we are very involved in individual countries – sponsoring specific sporting and cultural activities that have meaning in the region. A good example of this is that Samsung Electronics Nigeria is the official electronics sponsor for the Nigerian Football Federation.

The sponsorship, covering a host of benefits includes the Nationals teams: The Super Eagles (Winners of the last AFCON), the Super Falcons (Female team), the golden Eaglets (u-21 male team), the Falconets (junior female team) and the U-17 male team. Samsung sponsorship began in 2011 and runs for 3 years terminating on the 31st of July, 2014.

Another example is our recent Dream the Blues initiative. In conjunction with the Chelsea Football Club we recently ran football clinics around Africa designed to encourage youths aged 9 to 13 to achieve and grow their football aspirations.

While this alignment has previously been a global initiative it is fantastic that we get to witness this type of innovation and skills recognition on a local level. The African leg of the ‘Dream the Blues’ initiative saw Samsung and Chelsea Coaches visiting Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa with football clinics to provide professional training for local youths to learn ‘The Chelsea Way’ from Chelsea Foundation coaches.

And in May, two youngsters from each local camp were selected to advance to the Blues Camp in London as part of a larger training programme and of course, to meet some of the Chelsea players. Coming here provided the lucky youngsters with the opportunity to interact with not only some of the world’s most well-known players but also other youths who were selected from around the world.

This initiative reinforces the commitment Samsung has towards football and youth development and I am sure, you would agree that our continent offers us a field of opportunity to help those that are less fortunate and also very importantly, to mould and grow our youth in a manner that will enable them to build an Africa that is strong and powerful.

What’s more, Samsung communicates to its market using the entire marketing spectrum to deliver its brand message. From TV sponsorships of The Good Wife, Dallas and Hawaii 5.0 to South African Idols to traditional advertising on TV, billboards and radio, and of course, engaging consumers in the social media space through their platform of choice, we look at the entire marketing mix to deliver our brand message.

Samsung has engaged with premium sponsorships of Winex, Decorex and Ferrari, and in terms of digital, the company sees a huge growth as young-minded consumers review products, specification and benefits online and then go shopping to experience the products.

SLM: How much or /resources does Samsung invests in education in SA?

KM: We are passionate about giving our consumers the opportunity to live a smarter life with no limitations through our products and we drive this through our research and developments in the unique needs of the continent and its people. As such our R&D team ensures that product planning, design and developments is responsive to the needs of people – which does require substantial investment.

In addition to monetary investments we also invest substantial time and energy from a staffing perspective.



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