At Deloitte Belgium our core mission is to help our clients build a better future for their businesses. Consistent with this vision, we apply the same approach in our work with a wide range of social organisations, to help build a better tomorrow for society as a whole.
Close the Gap and Deloitte: a decade of collaboration
One of the projects in which we are involved is Close the Gap. It was founded in 2004 by Olivier Vanden Eynde, a Deloitte Belgium employee, with the aim of helping to bridge the digital divide separating prosperous and developing nations. Over the last decade, 440,000 assets have been donated, including 124,000 refurbished computers provided to social projects in Africa, Latin America and Asia. Other member firms, among them the Netherlands, France, Poland and Slovakia, have joined Deloitte Belgium in supporting the initiative. More recently, Close the Gap has worked with Deloitte University EMEA (DUE) to set up tratining programmes in East Africa on entrepreneurship and recycling technology. The 10th anniversary of the organisation was celebrated at an event held last year at DUE bringing together Close the Gap supporters. One, former EU commissioner Neelie Kroes, took the opportunity to inaugurate a new initiative, the Digi Truck: a fully mobile IT unit developed to withstand sub-Saharan heat. Other distinguished participants included Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Deloitte Africa CEO Lwazi Bam and Dean of DUE Jorrit Volkers.
We do this through the Deloitte Foundation. Overseeing our corporate responsibility strategy, the foundation provides added visibility to the projects in which we participate. They focus on education, innovation and entrepreneurship. These are areas that express Deloitte’s culture as a coaching and learning organisation, and make the best use of our skills so that our efforts can have greater impact. At a deeper level, both our work for clients and our social projects are inspired by the four global shared values that bind Deloitte employees together worldwide: integrity, outstanding value to markets and clients, commitment to each other, and strength through cultural diversity. Guiding everything we do, these values take on a special significance when expressed through the activities of the Deloitte Foundation.
The Deloitte Foundation
Near and Far
The Deloitte Foundation is supporting a whole range of projects that are changing lives for the better here in Belgium, as well as in many countries around the world.
- VLAJO/Les Jeunes Entreprises enables students to develop entrepreneurial skills and prepare for working life through exercises in which th?ey experience how to run their own company. Last year 50 Deloitte volunteers provided feedback on business plans, served on competition juries, advised the initiative’s management and offered a Deloitte Innovation Award.
- YouthStart (formerly known as The Network for Training Entrepreneurship or NFTE) helps improve the social and professional integration of young people facing exclusion. It works by assisting them to develop their skills and entrepreneurial spirit. In addition to advising YouthStart management, Deloitte provides business training and evaluates young people’s business plans.
- Bright Future is an initiative of the Beface organisation started by GDF-Suez and now supporte?d by many large companies. Supported by Deloitte Belgium, Bright Future offers coaching sessions to underprivileged, high-potential university students to help them take their first career steps. The students are selected by the social departments of their respective universities, and Bright Future matches the student with the coach.
- The Caring for Entrepreneurship Fund (CEF) was set up in December 2008 to encourage entrepreneurial initiatives that improve wellbeing in the h?ealthcare sector, including living conditions and support for patients and their families. The CEF is managed by the King Baudouin Foundation, and Deloitte provides support and expertise to selected projects.
- In spring 2014, 19 Deloitte Belgium partners cycled 1,300 km to southern France, raising a total of €53,000 for two causes supported by the firm. Fund Isaan was started by Deloitte partner Rony Wuytjens to improve education in Isaan, one of the poorest regions in Thailand. The fund provides computers, training and scholarships to high-potential students. In addition, Deloitte volunteers assist local teachers with English classes. The second cause, Bednet, helps primary and secondary pupils in Flanders with long-term, chronic illnesses to connect with their classrooms. Technology and training are provided to allow the children to take part in classroom activities – virtually.
- SOS Children’s Villages provides orphans and abandoned children around the world with a proper education in a safe environment. Deloitte supports school projects in Belgium and Rwanda. We also fund SOS emergency aid, for example to support victims of typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. Deloitte employees are very active in this initiative. To help raise funds, last year 136 of our people took part in four races: the 10 Miles of Antwerp, the 20 km of Brussels, the Ekiden, and Ronde Van Vlaanderen.
- Through the Tanzania Sustainability Proje?ct, Deloitte supports and works closely with a number of NGOs in the Mara region of Tanzania. Last year, five? Deloitte employees spent a week in the country giving training to NGOs, teaching IT skills, and auditing Exponential Technologies, a 2013 start-up helping to bring computers into education in Tanzania. The volunteers also raised funds for solar panels to power a new school.
Last year more than 700 people from two Deloitte Belgium business units engaged directly with the goals of the Deloitte Foundation through Impact Days. These day-long initiatives combined team building activities with social projects that made an impact on local communities. One of the projects, a particularly special initiative that Deloitte took part in, was developing an app to improve accessibility for wheelchair users. If you have any experience using a wheelchair, or know anyone who does, you’re likely aware of the difficulties of navigating in a world that is not always wheelchair friendly. On Wheels, founded by Michiel Desmet, maps out accessible streets, parking, restaurants, shops, toilets and other public locations, taking into account the chair dimensions and the driver’s skills. The app was built in Belgium by Deloitte Digital in collaboration with IBM and other partners for On Wheels, the organisation behind this initiative. Developing the On Wheels app, and the many other initiatives undertaken by Deloitte employees during Impact Day, clearly demonstrate the commitment of our firm, our people and the Deloitte Foundation to building a stronger society and a better tomorrow.
Volunteering on Impact Days
“We are conscious of the impact that Deloitte as a firm has on society. This is why corporate responsibility is not only central to our business strategy, but is also part of our daily decision making process. This sense of responsibility is undoubtedly a major reason why Deloitte is a global market leader today.”
Rik Vanpeteghem, CEO, Deloitte Belgium
“As the cornerstone of our commitment to society, the Deloitte Foundation oversees our firm’s corporate responsibility strategy and provides added visibility to the series of projects in which we are proud to participate.”
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