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Enable is providing people of determination a great opportunity not only by offering them jobs but by preparing them to be entrepreneurs. Enable succeeded in proving to the community and the world that people of determination are very creative and can be empowered and very productive if we unlocked their potentials. By saying this they are achieving the 8th SDG which is promoting sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.
In 2006, Desert Group, a landscaping company in Dubai, started an initiative for people specifically with cognitive disabilities, who we classify here in the United Arab Emirates as "People of Determination". This initiative employed people of determination to be plant specialists in the company after going through a rehabilitation course and training. In order for this initiative to sustain, Desert Group decided it would be most appropriate to transform it into a social enterprise where the business could run itself and they named it Enable. “Sustainability for us is to keep this project alive and have it fund itself and that’s where we adopted the concept of a social enterprise.” (Reem Al Ghaith, 2018)
Enable aims to empower people of determination to be independent in the future and start their own businesses. Enable provides various high quality collection of home and garden products that are made by people of determination who arrange indoor plants using succulents and cacti. The revenue is invested 100% in the innovation and 15% of each sold product goes back to the employee who created it. Enable teaches people of determination and prepares them to open their startups by a simple process starting by knowing where the materials come together, how to create a product, price the product, merchandise the product and display it, how to sell it, and invoice it.
Regarding the UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development Enable is achieving the 8th Goal which is decent work and economic growth by supporting productivity of people of determination, creating creative innovations, and encouraging SMEs in order to achieve financial sustainability. Moreover, they are achieving the 15th Goal which is life on land by monitoring the number of plants and using specific soil and cacti that doesn’t need a lot of water and can adapt in hot climates and in areas with high humidity such as the UAE.
Desert Group had an initiative where they would make workshops for schools and teach them about planting and caring for plants. Throughout their visits, they ended up also visiting centers for people of determination and they came to the realization that these individuals were very capable and very creative and that is where the inspiration of the innovation came from. Desert Group started a CSR initiative in 2006 where they hired people of determination and gave them the opportunity to learn and be a productive part of the organization. They also ran some workshops themselves where they taught students in schools and employees in other organizations about how to plant and care for plants. Later, in 2015, Desert Group decided to create Enable which is an actual social enterprise where the people of determination got jobs and received an education to open their own startups just like Enable did at the end of their journey.
Enable impacted the people of determination by developing their skills and guiding them towards a more independent life where they will be a productive part of society through their own startups. The short term effects on people of determination include improved communication, organizational, technical, marketing and selling skills. They are also financially independent since they receive a monthly salary plus a 15% commission on each sold product they make. Whereas the long term effects include a more independent life in the future where the people of determination run their own businesses and gain a more fulfilled life.
Moreover, Enable has an impact on the organization itself where they gained a great reputation of excellence and credibility. The company also won various awards for their institutional initiative such as Princess Haya Awards that aim to recognize the efforts of different entities within the area of special needs, Community Development Award from Ta’atheer which involves sustainability and social impact initiatives, and Gulf Sustainability Award that allows different businesses to compete in the gulf .
Enable tours around the UAE and presents their initiative to different people and organizations, to raise awareness and educate the community through roadshows, pop-up stores and display in major stores such as Carrefour. Through raising awareness Enable shows the community their positive experience with empowering the people of determination. Enable portrays the organization’s concept and goals within media coverage when necessary through traditional media and social media. Enable developed a toolkit for the governmental and retail sectors on how to train and involve people of determination in the workforce. Governmental entities include Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, and retailers such as IBM Middle East.
Enable uses durable plants that are efficient and do not require as much watering as other plants which is a great impact on the environment. There are a lot of workshops that take place in corporate and educational entities that teach individuals how to take care of these sustainable plants.
Enable has an in-house team of specialists, who work for the rehabilitation program, a management team and people of determination all working towards achieving cost optimization and escalating revenue. The revenues come from all the exposure and the relationship with governmental and private entities who purchase large sums of Enable’s products for giveaways and to increase awareness. Moreover the exposure to the market, bazaar’s and school events increase revenue beside their mobile and online store.
The innovation encourages the people of determination to be as creative as they can by giving them all the raw material and resources they need, and allowing them to create the products themselves which have to be approved by their supervisor at the end. Through this process of creativity, the business gets to develop new products which in return open more investments and opportunities such as display areas in 7 branches of Carrefour, which is one of the world’s largest hypermarkets.
The in-house team of specialist in Enable work on the well-being of the people of determination through their rehabilitation program. They are constantly supervising them through their day to day activities. Enable also has a great method of cost efficiency where 100% of the revenues go back to the business. This innovation helps Enable sustain and grow financially.
Enable social enterprise benefits the society by spreading awareness and educating the young generation about the abilities of people of determination. Additionally, Enable advocates the fact that people of determination and special needs are capable of working like others in the society. They also prepare people of determination to have the commitment and competence in their jobs. Moreover, Enable benefits the society by offering people of determination jobs, and qualifying them to build themselves, enhance their entrepreneurial skills and empower them to run their own startups in the future. Enable allows people of determination to present their products in bazaars and community markets to engage them with the customers in order to sell their product and build customer relationships.
The innovation of the enterprise is beneficial to the environment because they use sustainable, durable plants that don’t need much water. Furthermore, Enable conducts many workshops for corporations, schools and plant nurseries to educate people on how to plant and take care of those plants, and they have conducted popups in 180 schools and 115 ministry offices and corporations in the UAE since 2009.
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Reem Al Ghaith, General Manager of Enable
Enable is a social enterprise under Desert Group which is a landscaping company based in Dubai. Enable hires people of determination (people with cognitive disabilities) to work as plant specialists after going through a rehabilitation program. Through providing job offers to the people of determination Enable gives them a chance to learn lifelong skills and gain the experience to open their own startups at the end of their journey with Enable.