Columbus Communications Jamaica Limited, operators of Flow and Columbus Business Solutions, are the recipients of this year's Award for Excellence in Corporate Responsibility by the American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM).
The award was given to Flow at AMCHAM's Business and Civic Leadership Awards, held at the Pegasus Hotel in Kingston on Tuesday, September 25. Flow received the honour, which is given to companies that, for more than five years, demonstrate a commitment to improving the communities where they operate.
"Becoming the recipients of AMCHAM's Award for Excellence in Corporate Social Responsibility is a great honour for us", said Michele English President and Chief Operating Officer of Columbus Communications Jamaica Limited, operators of Flow. "It is a rewarding recognition of the work we have been doing in the areas of Education, Sports, Arts and Culture and Community Development".
According to English, "transformation" is one of the key philosophies of the organisation, whether it is through "the ground-breaking technology we bring to the island or via social partnerships with the communities we serve."
Since entering Jamaica in 2006, Flow has been an industry leader in its work to improve education through technology via its flagship corporate social responsibility programme Building Leaders through Technology. The company has also exposed Jamaica's arts and culture to millions of people across the region and South America through its partnership with the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival and HBO. Hundreds of young athletes especially in Football and Basketball have also benefitted through Flow's sports sponsorships and international exposure through partner broadcasters such as ESPN.
Denise Williams, Director of Corporate and Government Affairs, who heads the CSR portfolio, explains why the company is dedicated to being a proactive social force.
"We strongly feel that as a good corporate citizen, it is our responsibility to respond to the increasing social, economic and environmental challenges that are put forward to us by our customers, investors, employees and communities," she says. "We are happy to continually promote a culture of sustainability that not only 'flows' throughout our organisation but expands beyond our facilities to our business partners, customers and community."
Flow not only spends more than J$33 million each year to provide more than 140 schools with cable connections and high speed internet, the company also works with public and private sector groups to improve the education of Jamaica's children. For example, Flow is a major partner of the Private Sector of Jamaica's YUTE programme which helps train and provides employment opportunities for children living in the inner city.
In addition, Flow also donated free Wi-Fi services to the SOS Children's Village in Montego Bay, to support their work in giving homework assistance to children in the village, along with participants at Flow's parent company, Columbus Communications', annual golf tournament, who contributed indispensable equipment to the charity, including tools such as iPads, laptops, and kindles.
"Through Flow's donation of both cash and free Wi-Fi services to our Barrette Town facility, the children in the care of SOS can now access the internet to pursue their research assignments and develop critical skills which will undoubtedly help in ensuring their success in this globally competitive world," said Gregory Wint, National Director SOS children's villages.
One of the significant features of Flow's CSR policy is to ensure that the entire Flow team lives the philosophy of corporate social responsibility. Together, the team volunteered more than 140 hours in community service and talent in the past two years, contributing everything from physical labour to mentorship.
According to Flow's team member Kristi-Leigh Wilson, "last year, as a part of our annual Labour Day projects, the company provided support in cash and kind for the Hermitage Basic School renovation project, which I spearheaded. It was a great feeling to have so many of my team members getting involved for a good cause."
Flow is honoured to have received AMCHAM's award for Excellence in Corporate Responsibility, and is committed to continue being a business who leads the process of giving back to Jamaica.