Digital Solutions Group (DSG), a leader in customer experience management, has formed a joint venture including a Black-Economic Empowerment deal with the Maharishi Institute. The partnership is set to ensure that DSG not only significantly expands its contact centre capacity, but does so, while actively supporting learn-and-earn opportunities, for unemployed youth.
For more than fifteen years DSG has successfully run an award winning 100 seat Virtual Contact Centre (VCC) from its offices in Rosebank, Johannesburg, however, this venture with the Maharishi Institute has seen the company expand its capacity by a further 250 seats, through the contact centre based at the Institute’s campus in the Johannesburg CBD.
According to Yaron Assabi, CEO of DSG: “Continued growth in the local business process outsourcing (BPO) market, as well as offshoring – where the current exchange rate proves favourable to foreign businesses who are looking to outsource their call centres operations – has presented opportunities for real growth.
“When delivering the annual Nelson Mandela lecture at the University of Pretoria in July, Bill Gates outlined his blueprint for a thriving Africa. As part of his presentation Gates stressed the importance of education and infrastructure to creating job opportunities for the youth – which would ultimately enable the youth to become economically sound and innovators that will change the face of Africa’s future,” adds Assabi.
“We have a similar belief, and through this venture with the Institute we have designed a business model that not only offers significant benefits to our clients, delivering exceptional quality customer service and improved BEE benefits, but it also creates a safe environment where students can earn while they are learning.”
Dr Taddy Blecher, CEO of the Maharishi Institute, adds: “Our focus at the Maharishi Institute is to offer an effective learn-and-earn programme for bright young minds, who, despite their historically disadvantaged backgrounds, have the right attitudes towards learning – and recognise the role their education can play in not only their own upliftment but that of their families and communities too.”
The Institute offers a bursary solution where students only pay R200 a month, which is a fraction of the USD$112 000 it costs per student to put them through the 5-year programme. “We have been very fortunate and are truly appreciative of the donor funding that we continue to receive, which enables us to do what we do. As the venture with DSG operates as a business, it empowers us to generate more funds and help create long-term sustainability for the Institute – which in turn will enable us to expand our footprint and reach more youth and change their lives through education,” states Blecher.
Through the establishment of this contact centre, and the business it will attract, the Institute has set a target of being able to grant access to education for 1000 students to enter higher education by its next intake.
“Our goal is that all our students become economically relevant, where our programme takes a structured approach to each student’s personal growth, education and future career development. Through this contact centre our students will have access to part-time work that will empower them to earn money, and keep them enrolled in their university degree via distance education, all while still being able to provide basic family support. The students will also gain practical working experience that will benefit them as they move forward in their lives and their career opportunities,” adds Blecher.
“We are incredibly proud to be able to partner with the Maharishi Institute on this venture – and jointly, we want to expand this model to other regions in the country in the future. I have always advocated that DSG also stands for ‘Doing Something Good’ – and while this partnership allows us to significantly grow our contact centre business, just as importantly, it has also given us as a platform where we can give back to our communities by creating sustainable employment opportunities,” concludes Assabi.