"The most rewarding experience that I've had is the chance to know some of the young people when they started in their first year working for us [DDD], and to see them through the 4 years of work, and to have them go on to better things." - Michael Chertok
About: Michael Chertok- Co-Founder and Chief Business Development Officer of Digital Divide Data
Overview: Michael shares his experiences with DDD, which is a technology company that focuses on providing high quality services to companies large and small. He discusses with us the benefits of having employees in developing countries and how DDD is helping these young people become better educated and self reliant.
Background: Michael's drive started when he was in college. He was struggling to figure out how to pay for college, and over the summer, he got a job doing back office work for a medical supply company. It was tedious work, but it was his first job in an office that taught him great communication skills with his co-workers, and managers. When the opportunity came to do work in Cambodia, he saw the need to help and eventually DDD evolved.
What is DDD: Digital Divide Data provides a set of outsource business services to all sorts of businesses from small startups to Fortune 500 companies. They mainly focus on content conversion, digitization, and research services. For example, if your company has a data base of client prospects with multiple errors, DDD can go in and clean things up. DDD strives to provide a very high quality service to their customers. In 2001, DDD started with 40 young employees in Cambodia, and now has 1,200 people working for them around the world. DDD's current earned revenue is $5.5 Million.
Labor Force: Currently, DDD has a workforce in Kenya that will provide services all over the world. They are able to help these young people attend college, and typically these employees can work for DDD for about 4 years. They require their employees to be high school graduates. DDD's goal is to provide a stepping stone for these young employees to attain a higher level income and eventually be able to support a family. Many times, these employees go on to be involved in other tech companies, in non-profits, become teachers, and even work in government.
DDD's Mission Statement: Provide an opportunity for young people, particularly from very low-income families in developing countries.
Type of Business: Hybrid organization- U.S. Non-profit that owns a set of for-profit organizations.
Michael's Role: He is there to support DDD with marketing and financing. Most of the partners are based in San Francisco, which is why Michael is there, but the majority of the work for DDD happens overseas.
Technology Providers: DDD has partnered with Cisco systems and Microsoft to provide reliable technology for their employees overseas.
Most Rewarding Experience Working at DDD: Seeing these young, employees growing exponentially from start to finish. And to see these people become leaders in their own countries.
Challenges: Michael states that one of their greatest struggles at DDD is the need to balance their goal of serving their clients and providing opportunities for their young employees. DDD focuses a lot on providing a high quality product and educating those that work for them.
Advice for a Company Wanting to Give Back: One of the things DDD offers is an opportunity for entrepreneurs to be able to leverage their resources to help them grow their businesses. Right now, they offer a back office to help these entrepreneurs have quality infrastructure. Michael suggests that by giving a part of your resources to help others is a great way to give back.
Take Away: Although there is a lot of back and forth about work done overseas, we learn that when it is done right, it can be a great opportunity for families in developing countries, and a helpful resource for clients here in America.
Connect With Michael:Website
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