Accenture Helps Socially Responsible Initiative in Brazil

Brazil may have seen fast economic development over the last decade and it’s about to become the sixth largest economy in the world. But its record in free, quality education is far from matching the country’s financial performance, leaving economically excluded youth at disadvantage when it comes to professional opportunities and development.

There are initiatives trying to repair this unfair situation, though. For example, global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company Accenture, through Accenture Foundations, has awarded Conexao, a Brazilian NGO that helps underprivileged youth to develop skills for the job market, a US$1.1 million grant. The money will help the organization to expand its work to foster entrepreneurism in the Latin American giant. With this new financial aid, Accenture’s direct support to Conexao amounts to over US$3 million.

The award is part of Accenture’s global corporate citizenship initiative, Skills to Succeed, whose aim is to equip 250,000 people around the world by 2015 with the skills to get a job or build a business. The one-year grant will help Conexao provide vocational skills for an additional 5,700 young people and mentoring and coaching for approximately 100 entrepreneurs. Conexao has employed 6,000 young people in the last four years and, in the next twelve months, the NGO will train more than 5,700 young people and will have more than 4,000 young people employed

In addition to the grant, Accenture will continue supporting Conexao with pro bono services as it has done since the organization’s inception in 2007. Accenture employee volunteers will teach professional training courses and provide mentoring support to the entrepreneurs.

“Supporting Conexao helps bring to life Accenture’s commitment to building skills,” said Adrian Lajtha, chief leadership officer at Accenture. “Conexao is proving it’s possible to make a significant, lasting impact on the economic well-being of individuals and their communities by developing skills and connecting people with the right job opportunities.”

Conexao is a social venture of Rede Cidadã, a Brazilian organization in partnership with Youth Business International, which supports young people striving to start businesses. Established with the support of a US$1.2 million grant from Accenture Foundations, Conexao has already enrolled more than 20,300 young people in technical courses, helped approximately 6,400 enter the workforce and provided support for more than 200 entrepreneurs.

“We are delighted that Accenture has decided to extend its partnership with Conexao,” said Mario Vieira, Conexao’s chief executive officer. “This will enable us to extend our reach to thousands more young people and entrepreneurs, supporting them with training and skills for the workplace. With this initiative, we will make a huge difference to them and their families, giving them more independence and choice.”

Correction on 1/10/2012: This piece originally stated that  Accenture's direct support to Conexao amounts to nearly US$4 million. The actual figure is US$3.2 million.

Image credit: Flickr/Kaysha