Positive community engagement can offer a range of business benefits (recruitment, enhanced reputation and brand, etc) and provide businesses with support from the communities within which they operate. Typical positive engagement may include:
- Linking up with charities working in the area;
- Sponsoring specific workplace projects;
- Sponsoring wider community initiatives; and
- Minimising any direct community impacts.
We recognise that portfolio companies work with a varied number of local and national charities, and that the reasons for each engagement are unique to each organisation.
Dunedin supports two charities with a meaningful donation each year, plus numerous ad hoc sponsorships or donations. Members of the team are encouraged to take on charitable roles for instance our Head of Marketing is a Trustee at Hostelling Scotland, a charitable organisation which seeks to make the Scottish outdoors accessible to all.
Our portfolio are working hard to enhance their community involvement:
Source: Dunedin ESG audits, 2019
GPS – fighting financial exclusion
GPS was instrumental in launching The Inclusion Foundation, a charity which aims to fight financial exclusion in the UK. The Foundation was backed, amongst others, by Mastercard and the Emerging Payments Association, and was the result of over three years of work.
The Foundation came at a time when society’s most vulnerable were in the greatest need of vital financial services as they coped with the COVID-19 pandemic. 1.23m of the UK’s most vulnerable do not have access to a bank account and these disadvantaged segments of society find it very challenging to pay and get paid. The social isolation measures put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19 exacerbated the problem, which was having an unintended consequence for the socially vulnerable who have less access to cash than ever before.
A payments account is a key utility; with this access, the user can benefit from social mobility enabling them to pay for their rent, purchase goods and services and build a credit rating. Consequently, the Foundation is dedicated to joining the dots between the fintech industry and the mainstream financial services sector, government bodies and charities to bring awareness of the accredited solutions available and enable more people into the banking system and out of the poverty trap.
Incremental – introducing young people to STEM
Incremental Group is passionate about helping young people gain access into careers in the fields of STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths). During 2019, Incremental Group contributed to the Celebration of STEM event at Glasgow Science Centre. Over 300 primary and secondary school children from all over Scotland attended to celebrate science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Over 50 STEM clubs were invited to participate in challenges held by leading partners in STEM industries.
Incremental STEM Ambassadors, Craig Porteous and Zoe Mackay, designed an emoji-based challenge for the participants built on Microsoft Azure and the Microsoft Power Platform, to show the budding technologists how AI, machine learning and cognitive processing work in practice.
As part of the Incremental Emoji Challenge, children were asked to pick a card with an emoji on it, representing an emotion. They then had to take a photo of them expressing that emotion. Microsoft Azure’s cognitive services machine learning then graded the photo based on which emotions it detected and displayed their matching score and photo on a Power BI report.
Thanks to the speed and sophistication of the Microsoft suite of applications, the STEM clubs were able to see their photos appear and scored in real time, allowing them to work together to achieve better scores. Although the concept of facial recognition was nothing new to most of the children, this was the first time they had the chance to experiment with it and gain an understanding of cognitive processing.