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Our3Q – iCare Benefits, Thailand

Paweł – board member of iCare Benefits, company that gives the employees immediate access to essential products and services by providing a loan without interest. This way it aims to improve their quality of life and well being.

 

Q1: What do you appreciate yourself in the business mainly for?

It is a very good business model. It is working in Vietnam, now we are spreading it in 6 other countries. I work for Thailand. Icare benefits proposes real win-win situations: factory workers, their employers, retail sellers, even banks. And us, as a for-profit company.

 

Q2: What is the biggest challenge for you now?

Finding more and more people who want to join us. I started here from nothing. I arrived in Bangkok in September knowing nobody. In Vietnam people are more business oriented, probably because they are often poorer and very motivated to change their life. In Thailand recruiting staff is much more challenging. We are a start-up, it’s not a 9-to-5 job, you work till it’s done. Not many people are ready to do that. But thanks to that a 25-years old guy like me can be one of the most important people in the company.

 

Q3: What advice do you have for yourself in this situation?

A network of people who care. Other things are just operational details.

 

Would you like to add somehing more?

iCare Benefits was created to help factory workers, to increase the quality of their life. The problem of many workers is that they have quite low salary so when they want to buy things like fridge or phone, they find it difficult to pay in cash. So they have to borrow money and as we found out in our research they borrow usually from black market, which has really high interest, 10-20% per month. Sometimes all in all they pay double for the product. It’s not fair that if you earn more you pay less than if you earn less. Icare benefits makes it possible for workers to access all those products with market price and the payment is spread in 6 months. 6 months installments with no interests or any additional costs. What’s more, we always provide the opportunity to participate in the program through employers who can treat it as additional bonus for workers. The workers can take part in it only after one year working, so they become more loyal and don’t change company so easily. We earn money in the difference between whole sell and retail. Thank to us shops save money on space which they have to rent to sell as well as on marketing. We buy quite a lot from them, so they are open to give us discounts. Then we sell to workers at the market price and we earn on the difference between those two prices. Thanks to that we have money to operate and pay interests to the banks we borrow money from to pay for things workers buy and pay us back in 6 months.

 

The questions were asked on our behalf by Anna and Andrea from How to (ex) change the world.

exchangebabel.com

Bangkok, Thailand, 14th  December, 2015

ID: 024/100

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