by Jia-Jheng Yeh
With advanced technologies, the application of artificial intelligence (AI) has become prevalent among various industries. For instance, AI can be applied at social enterprises to create job opportunities for the disabled. This article introduces to you Flow Inc., the first social enterprise in Taiwan to bring together commercial activities and public welfare.
From a business incubator to a social enterprise that promotes career planning for the disabled employment
As Taiwan’s first social enterprise providing venture capital, Flow Inc. learned through a field survey on the employment of the disabled in Taiwan that among every one million disabled people, 800,000 are looking for a job, and there are 140,000 of them that cannot leave their residence to work. For this reason, Flow Inc. decided to changed its role from a startup incubator to a social enterprise that facilitates the disabled in job seeking in the high-tech field.
Win-win for the disabled and the businesses
Flow Inc. builds its business model to answer one question: what kind of job is more suitable for the disabled? From this, Flow Inc. established a department for BIM (Building Information Modeling) integrated services in 2013 to train new engineers. The department started by recruiting professional engineers with backgrounds in engineering design and construction practice to redesign the workflow, which is the key to the training process. In this way, the construction projects that used to be complex and hard for beginners are turned into smaller ones that can be completed by an individual with disabilities. During the process, the trainees can practice and become professional modeling engineers.
In Taiwan, there are 140,000 disabled people who can only work from home due to their physical conditions. In the face of this, Flow Inc. also sees the trend and needs in the AI industry in terms of cloud technology, so it established another department for AI data services in 2018. The purpose is to allow the disabled to work from home, so that, with assistive devices and training sessions, these people can also become professional AI data annotators, without having to leave their house. Flow Inc. believes it is necessary to train the disabled to become a part of the working population needed in the society, so that the disabled and the businesses can both have what they want, and there is a complete and sustainable ecosystem for disability employment.
Flow Inc. has a vision of creating a viable business model amid the development of the cloud industry. In addition, there is also a goal in developing a workflow suitable for the disabled, establishing a system for training and evaluation, inventing assistive devices with information technology, and creating new positions for the disabled. By doing so, it is believed that the right people can fit into the right position, and a new look of a social enterprise can be built.