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CSR as Launchpad for Business Growth
Raheem Akingbolu writes on the need for business owners to factor Corporate Social Responsibility into their growth philosophy, citing the example of a firm in Lagos that has consistently used CSR to galvanise support for societal development as well as deepening brand equity
Despite its global acceptability, some individuals and organisations in Africa still hold the view that local business organisations are exempted from Corporate Social Responsibility investment. But findings and records have since shown that organisations that invest in CSR grow alongside their societies because consumers see them to be more socially responsible. In Nigeria, some companies are waking up fast to this global trend while some are still living in the past.
Two weeks ago, as part of the activities put in place to mark the 10th anniversary of a Lagos based creative agency, X3M Ideas, the agency handed over a reading hub to the school to boost literacy among the students.
When the CSR initiative was initiated 10 years ago, the major question raised by stakeholders was about sustainability. As the agency announced its 10th anniversary a few weeks ago and followed the announcement up with the news about the donation of a reading hub to a secondary school in Lagos, it dawned on all that indeed the CSR leg of its business had come to stay.
In the past decade, X3M Ideas has consistently delivered impactful social intervention projects that include renovation of classrooms, office blocks, sick bays, libraries and donating computers, UPS devices, air conditioners, internet modems with unlimited data to public schools in Lagos.
But according to the Chief Executive Officer of the X3M Ideas, Mr. Steve Babaeko, the 10th anniversary CSR project focused on deepening reading culture in public schools, through donation of reading hubs, for strategic reasons.
While speaking at the unveiling, Babaeko reiterated his commitment to changing the reading culture among young people in Lagos.
He said: “X3M Ideas will not waver in our effort to support Nigerian children, especially those in the public school system within our locality. We will consistently deliver impactful social intervention projects to the benefit of the students. This reading hub is modern, convenient and equipped with a library to make books accessible in order to groom these youths with ideas that can reshape the world.”
Earlier, the Lagos State Commissioner for Education, Folashade Adefisayo, had stated that the community-centred CSR initiative by the creative agency would help students redirect their time and resources better towards improving education outcomes in the state.
“In this era of social media, school children are easily distracted. But this reading hub will make it easier for them to renegotiate their time for studies and leisure in order to become knowledgeable youth and ultimately future leaders,” stated Adefisayo, who was represented by the Director, Lagos State Ministry of Education, Grace Akinfoyewa.
This was also the position of the principal of the school, Ayobami Masheyi, who expressed his gratitude for the act of goodwill, and urged the students to take advantage of the new facility to improve their reading culture.
“We are always so grateful to X3M Ideas for their contributions to the benefit of our students’ year on year. This year, we’re especially grateful for the contribution to building the knowledge economy by donating a reading hub to our school, for our students. A good reader makes a good leader,” Masheyi said.
In response to the pandemic, X3M Ideas, had in 2020 donated unique wash hand stations and disinfectant tunnels to select schools in Lagos. To commemorate its first anniversary in 2013, the agency renovated a block of five classrooms at Opebi Senior High School, the neighbourhood where the agency’s Lagos office is located.
At the 2020 edition which was significant because of COVID-19 crisis, top government functionaries in Lagos and some players in the business community, who witnessed the handing over of the wash hand station facility and Glo MiFi internet modems with unlimited data, to Opebi Senior High School, Opebi – Ikeja, Lagos, took turns to deepen discussions around the concept of CSR.
Since the year 2012, when X3M Ideas, commemorated its first anniversary with a unique art of giving by renovating and handing over a well-equipped block of five classrooms at Opebi Junior High School, the agency has continued to build on the achievement. In 2019, the agency handed over a renovated Block 4 Building, housing the new state-of-the-art library facility, counseling centre and the sick bay of Agidingbi Junior Grammar school Ikeja, as the year’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) project.
The donations are largely seen to complement the efforts of the government and especially, the Lagos State government led by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, in their combat of various challenges facing secondary school education. The 2020 edition was done to control the spread of the then ravaging Coronavirus, as it would further enhance the COVID-19 prevention protocols especially in the area of hand washing and general hygiene of the young students and also provided them access to information and education on the pandemic.
The facility, located at the entrance to the Opebi school complex, which houses the Opebi Junior School and the Senior High School, was a well-secured, special clear-view panel fence solution where the beneficiary community could walk through the disinfectant tunnel, before assessing the school. It also allowed for free airflow with good headroom to give an appealing ambiance.
Looking back these past years and the activities in the marketing communications industry, it’s easy to conclude that history is being re-written for the better by the agency. Beyond bringing Nigeria into global reckoning, X3M Ideas and a few other agencies are also giving foreign creative firms a run for their money.
Since it was established a decade ago, X3M Ideas has remained a leading creative powerhouse with a lot to show for it.
2021 and 2022, in particular, were good years for the agency in terms of business growth and awards. Generally, the two years were considered defining years for few businesses that survived the heat of the Coronavirus and the lockdown
In 2021, X3M Ideas didn’t only grow stronger, but won new clients as well as ticking all the right boxes. The agency also consolidated its reputation as the emerging creative powerhouse on the African continent with the quality of pan-African campaigns it executed in partnership with DStv and the MultiChoice Africa Group, becoming the first agency outside South Africa to pull-off such a feat. Also in 2021, X3M Ideas became the agency that put Nigeria on the global map by winning several international awards, notable among was the Gold it won at the Luum awards in Geneva Switzerland for work done for Mentally Aware Nigeria.