With Uber tying up with SG Enable to offer free UberX rides, are startups embracing corporate social responsibility?
Being a caregiver to a person with disabilities is hard work. In addition to taking care of their everyday needs, one also needs to take them to, for example, activity centres or healthcare establishments. This difficulty is particularly pronounced for caregivers whose charges are less mobile, for whom taking public transport is out of the question. To address this need, Uber has collaborated with SG Enable, an agency dedicated to serving persons with disabilities, wherein it will offer 1,000 complimentary UberX rides.
With this collaboration, Singaporeans with disabilities as well as their caregivers now have access to Uber’s fleet of cars, which can be called upon using Uber’s mobile app. Within a few minutes, they will have a commercially registered and insured vehicle at their doorstep, the same as with Uber’s paying customers.
According to Ku Geok Boon, CEO, SG Enable, this collaboration will go a long way to realising SG Enable’s vision in helping persons with disabilities. “We are happy with Uber’s support in improving the travel options for persons with disabilities, and we hope this will be the beginning of more fruitful collaboration with corporate partners like Uber,” she said, “As an agency dedicated to serving persons with disabilities, we constantly seek innovative solutions to help persons with disabilities and caregivers with their needs.”
To kick off the partnership, Uber will collaborate with SG Enable to facilitate transport arrangements for persons with disabilities to the Enabling Employers Awards Gala Dinner on April 24, 2014, as well as upcoming events for persons with disabilities and the community.
With Uber’s new initiative, it seems fair to ask the question: is corporate social responsibility becoming a thing among startups? While it is true that there has been a few other CSR initiatives by startups, such as MyTeksi sponsoring a books and toys pledge, one is much more likely to see large corporations among the names of charity sponsors.
Nonetheless, this does represent a start of a trend, where small businesses increasingly incorporate social and environmental goals into a triple bottom line. It is certainly a possibility that more startups in the future will build CSR into their business plan from the get-go, becoming full-fledged social enterprises.