- By Andrew Larbi
Several months ago, Emmanuel Appiah-Dadson, 26, graduated from University of Cape Coast with a degree in Statistics. Since graduating, Emmanuel has found it extremely difficult to find employment in his homeland of Ghana, West Africa. With an unemployment rate of 11%, Emmanuel’s story is all too common for Ghanaian graduates. At the same time, the team at SweetIQ decided they wanted to exercise their ‘reason for being’, or ‘Ikigai’. The Japanese word ‘Ikigai’ is given to the sweet spot where one’s passion, mission, vocation and profession all intersect. When found, “ikigai” can improve your mood, health, and can lead to longer life expectancy.
It was this desire to make a difference and a personal connection with Ghana that led Andrew Larbi, Lead UX Researcher at SweetIQ and Renilda Marie de Dios Senior Community Manager; to connect with Bernard Phillips in Ghana and start a work group called Mathematika. Using the power of crowdsourcing, Mathematika helps SweetiQ perform numerous simple online tasks, including verifying or updating clients’ online details to ensure local online listings are in picture-perfect condition.
Mathematika allows registered independent contractors to complete the tasks of their choice. Phillips now states emphatically that “This opportunity for flexible work has made a significant difference to many lives. School fees and medical bills can all now be paid. It has given members of the team real self-worth and confidence.” After only 6 months there is now a core of thirty-two hardworking individuals.
After the success of Mathematika and SweetIQ working together, a formal company initiative named EmpowerIQ was born. These projects are varied and cover a multitude of topics which were categorized into one of the three following categories; Environment, Community, and the Team.
Environment Projects focus on the amount of waste produced at SweetiQ with a core focus on disposing of its waste responsibly. For example, we are now testing ways to cultivate proper compost and recycling practices and reducing our carbon footprint by switching over to rechargeable batteries and recycling old electronics.
Community Projects aim to provide our communities with a voice and agency that empowers them in their lives and pursuits. The Mathematika project naturally falls under this category as it offers work to underprivileged communities in various areas of the world. Other projects include helping special needs teens in local schools and extending our services to non-profit organizations and charities at no cost.
Team Projects focus on diversity and implementing different initiatives to both increase awareness and education across the organization about diversity and inclusion. Some future initiatives include a day with therapy dogs to relieve employee stress and light therapy in the office common areas.
The EmpowerIQ mission is to create connection and inclusion through mindfulness. Our aim is to support our environment, community and employees. Our initiatives have not been incredibly fulfilling, they are the driving force for new initiatives! We will keep sharing them as they happen – stay tuned!