Spotlight Stories

Empowering the Forgotten Workforce

For many individuals, retirement means stepping away from corporate life. Not so for Thomas Ng, who enjoyed an illustrious 25-year career as an international corporate executive. After retiring as president and country manager for ABB in the Philippines, he launched Genashtim, an online global eLearning and support services company. A primary focus of the for-profit social enterprise is to employ and empower what Thomas calls “the forgotten workforce”.

“My company was set up to leverage technology and the internet to provide gainful, sustainable, and dignified employment for the marginalized communities all over the world,” Thomas explains in a YouTube video. “[I] wanted to do something for the people that the corporate world had left behind.”

Almost 70 percent of Genashtim’s 100-person staff has a disability, and 25 percent are refugees. All are able to work remotely from the comfort, safety, and convenience of their homes because Genashtim is a cloud-based company with no physical office or operations center.

Genashtim employees serve clients around the world. “Most of our customers are not even aware of the social impact aspects of our company,” Thomas notes. His vision is to give differently-abled and marginalized people the opportunity to unleash their potential by joining the workforce and contributing to society. The company slogan is: Empowering people, enabling business.

Prior to founding Genashtim, Thomas served on the boards of several NGOs, advocating for the gainful employment of persons with disabilities. A popular speaker and activist, he is one of UNESCAP's seven "promoters" for the new Asia and Pacific Decade of Persons with Disabilities, 2013-2022.

As Genashtim grows, Thomas is committed to hiring members from other marginalized communities—such as lepers, ex-convicts, the HIV-infected, and women in oppressed environments. He firmly believes that empowering “the forgotten workforce” transforms their lives and is good for business.

A bonus is that Genashtim’s business model is also good for the environment. With the entire workforce being online and remote, Genashtim is a green company that is doing its part to lower emissions and congestion in the cities. The company proudly holds B Corp certification, which means it meets rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.

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