Genashtim has won an Honorable Mention recognition in the ESCAP-Sasakawa Awards 2013 for its business practices that provides employment opportunities for persons with disabilities.
Thomas Ng (Founder) was selected by UNESCAP as one of seven "Promoters" for the new Asian and Pacific Decade of Persons with Disabilities, 2013-2022, in recognition of our substantive expertise and experience, extraordinary record of achievements in mobilizing support for the empowerment of persons with disabilities. As a result of this, Thomas was invited to attend the High-level Intergovernmental Meeting in Incheon in October 2012, for the launch.
The Nippon Foundation nominated Genashtim as an example of "Good Practice" that, in relation to employment, successfully promotes and implements the rights of persons with disabilities. As a result of this, we have been selected for publication in the Essl Foundation's "Zero Project Report 2013" (www.zeroproject.org), which covers over 80 countries. Thomas Ng has been invited to present Genashtim at Zero Project's second annual conference, on 18-19 February 2013 in Vienna, Austria.
Genashtim was invited to join ILO's Global Business and Disability Network (www.businessanddisability.org). We are a tiny little business, in the same network with the likes of Accenture, Amex, Carrefour, Cisco, Credit Suisse, Dow, E&Y, IBM, Infosys, KPMG, L'Oreal, Microsoft, Novartis, Pepsico, Samsung, UBS, Volvo, Yum! etc. And we are the first company in South East Asia to be part of this network.
Abled Online Bags First Prize in Tokyo
Genashtim's executive Ryan Allegado "walked away" with the first prize for Abled Online, at the finals of the Universal Ventures Business Plan Contest (UVC) in Tokyo on 21st November 2010. UVC is a contest for projects by persons with disabilities (PWDs). Among the 40+ corporate sponsors of UVC is The Nippon Foundation, which is the largest in Japan, and among the top 10 foundations in the world.
"Every so often (unfortunately not as often as one would like) you stumble across an individual and/or an organization that has the ability to take a seemingly complex issue and create simple and sensible answers that leaves you standing there rather "flat-footed" and asking yourself "Why didn't I think of that?"
Thomas Ng and Genashtim is a classic example of this situation.
The challenge of helping persons with disabilities to find gainful employment that provides them with dignity and independence is one that perpetually confounds professionals in the field of rehabilitation. Yet along comes a business man like Thomas Ng who with seeming ease picks up those "lemons" and turns them into tasty lemonade that becomes a win-win situation for the corporation and the disabled person.
Maybe we have been looking for solutions in the wrong places and should spend more of our time talking to enlightened entrepreneurs like Thomas Ng to help us find and develop those employment opportunities.
I first met Thomas at a meeting of an expert panel for the establishment of the Institute on Disability and Public Policy (IDPP). Two things about Thomas impressed me greatly at that time ‐ his sense of innovation in business, and his sincere attitude towards persons with disability (PWD). These two factors are nowhere more evident than in his business venture English Proficiency in Conversation Online (EPiC Online), where PWD highly skilled in the English language coach executives and others in English conversation. The business is expanding rapidly, gaining major clients such as McDonalds Thailand, and is very proactive in hiring PWD in both teaching and administrative capacities.
Thomas' view of PWD is very much ahead of its time. The very first time we spoke, I presented to him my vision of how IT would revolutionize the lives of the disabled in 10-20 years, by removing all barriers to participation in the workplace. "Mr. Ohno, you've got it wrong," he said, "The revolution has already happened!" In his business model, PWD are at an advantage over persons without disability. For example, his blind employees are highly proficient PC users who don't require a screen. This not only saves on the cost of the hardware, but reduces burden on environment by requiring less electricity. Furthermore, as his employees work from home, no commuting charges are incurred, and in regions prone to blackouts, his company is in a safe position, as the staff are scattered around different regions and are thus never all affected by a regional loss of power. Thomas also extols other virtues of his disabled staff ‐ they are less likely to move on to other jobs rapidly, and, as they are often working more for their personal satisfaction and emancipation than financial reward, they tend to be much more committed and enthusiastic about their work.
Mr. Ng's latest brainchild, developed alongside his wheelchair-using executive assistant Ryan, is Abled Online. It is essentially a service that provides remote IT support to PC users, and the staff are all PWDs.
Abled Online has since been publicly recognized for its unique business plan, taking first prize at the Universal Business Venture Plan Contest, which recognizes business venture plans that are inclusive of PWD.
As I mentioned, Thomas is innovative in business, and treats PWD as highly employable and valuable members of his staff. In light of these qualities, The Nippon Foundation, the grant making private foundation at which I work, has taken the decision to make Thomas an advisor to its planned new project "Inclusive Business," an initiative conducted in partnership with ASEAN, which seeks to achieve the threefold goal of having businesses include PWD in their clients, their workforce and their executive staff.
In short, Thomas Ng is a talented entrepreneur who has an open mind to employment for PWD, and his work, conducted with the philosophy - "Charity is a one-off gesture, business is self-sustaining," - will, I believe, have a major positive impact on the employment situation for PWD in many countries worldwide."
"...Thomas is an inspiring businessman ‐ who has developed one of the most innovative models I have seen in the field of disability in many, many years. He has started from a different premise: that is he has started from a business premise not a charity one and has created dignified, respectful employment for people very disadvantaged in their social and cultural situation ‐ an absolutely splendid example of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in action.
This particular endeavour has come to the notice of many people and not least because of its innovation in small business and for a group of people very much disadvantaged in traditional labour markets."
".....truly inspiring to see how business people see that employing people with disabilities makes business sense"
"Thomas is the pioneer in bringing to our part of the world, state-of-the-art education technologies and concepts which leverage the collaborative tools and social networking phenomena on the internet. What impresses me is that he is able to apply these technologies and concepts to make education engaging, enabling and inclusive. He is able to nurture and tap the strengths of persons with disabilities in delivering world class education services, not only to the corporate world, but also to the marginalized and impoverished societies."
"We, human beings have been facing globalization which brings all of us in a close relationship with information through communication technology. At the same time, we are facing several barriers such as the built-environment, information, systems, regulations and human attitudes.
Thomas is an innovative businessman who has been developing an e-business, teaching English through his e-business and providing employment for persons with disabilities.
Thomas has employed many persons with disabilities who had been discriminated against in many ways, but he is challenging those barriers through ICT technology and job placement for persons with disabilities. He is proving persons with disabilities are capable and can contribute to the business world. ICT technology provides jobs for persons with a mobility disability and encourages persons with disabilities to challenge their abilities. This makes Thomas a pioneer for job creation which also promotes a barrier-free and inclusive business.
APCD appreciates Thomas' epoch-making business, and development of globalization with inclusive business."
Ability First Australia is one of Australia's largest, national, not for profit organisations. We are a strategic alliance of Australia's leading disability organisations, working to ensure that every Australian living with disabilities, and their families, have access to programs that maximise their potential by creating opportunities for them to make their own choices.
For over 12 months, Genashtim have assisted us with the successful management of our websites. The Genashtim team have excellent customer service skills and a quick turnaround time. With 80% of their permanent staff being Persons With Disabilities, we are more than happy to support this great initiative!
The Ability First Australia Team