Arbusta is a company with sustainable vocation! The idea of creating profitable companies which also generate a positive social and environmental impact in the community is growing in the entrepreneurial world.
Arbusta was born from a question asked by a cardboard collector to a software developer: “What do my children have to do to avoid becoming a cardboard collector like me?” Federico Seineldin, one of the founders of this technology services company, says that this was one of the triggers to start the project. “The founding partners were entrepreneurs in 2001 and we realized that if sustainability was not built in a different way, this was just an empty concept. If you have a sustainable undertaking in an unsustainable context, fragility is always present. Thus we began to think how to include fragility in the business model, how to make a more sustainable community”, he states.
That is how Seineldin, Paula Cardenau, Emiliano Fazio and Juan Umaran combined their experiences in the technology industry, in social entrepreneurship and in the corporate social responsibility area to start –six years ago– this company, which has equal employment opportunities as its hallmark. 95 % of the 300 people who make up Arbusta are youngsters from low-income districts, with no previous formal education or experience in technology, and who have found in Arbusta their first employment opportunity in the IT world. More than half of them are women, another peculiarity for the technology universe. “We are tearing down false myths”, they claim.
“The technology world faces the challenge that talent is scarce. We realized that such talent exists, but nobody sees it or invests in those two or three years necessary for that talent to emerge. At first, we began by offering unsophisticated services, in order to have a short learning curve, but nowadays we provide test automation services and we even develop software. We train people while they work (learning by doing)”, says Seineldin. Arbusta believes that millennials and centennials are digital natives, so they are trained for the specific functions to be developed and in two months they are already operating. The only requirement to join the company is to know how to read and write (for now, a high school diploma is not a requirement), be familiar with smartphones and “eager to work”.
Operating in Buenos Aires, Rosario, Montevideo and Medellín, Arbusta provides software, data and interactions quality assurance services (Data Services, Applications QA, Machine Learning Training, Digital Interaction and Web Layout). Mercado Libre, Disney, L’Oreal, Comafi and Macro banks, Natura, Fox Sports and YPF are part of Arbusta’s clients list. Last year the company billed almost 1.6 million dollars. There are also requests from different parts of the world, such as Asia or Africa, to replicate the Arbusta model in fragile socio-economic contexts.
SUSTAINABLE VOCATION APPLIED TO WORKING METHODOLOGY
This undertaking with a sustainable vocation is organized in work cells –flexible and adaptable– per project, led by a technical leader and a project manager. Youngsters who join the company start with shadowing tasks, following and learning from more advanced arbusters, so that experience is passed on within the team. “The trick is how to form those cells so that the delivery quality of the service complies with and even exceeds the agreement with our clients”, states Seineldin, who is committed with this different project after having gone the traditional way with his company Openware, which was bought by Globant in 2008.
GROWTH BY WORD OF MOUTH
As new clients arrive, more arbusters join. More than 500 people have been part of Arbusta and have arrived from social networks or word of mouth. At the beginning, offices opened in low-income neighborhoods, but nowadays they own their own facilities. There is a stage of virtual and in-person assessment, and then they become part of our payroll. Most of them work part-time at first. “We do not have the industry’s issue of people sourcing; we focus on economic sustainability. It is a model achieved with clients and projects as in any other company of the industry”, says the cofounder.
“95 % of the 300 people who are part of Arbusta are youngsters who come from low-income neighborhoods, with no previous formal education or experience, and who have found in Arbusta their first employment opportunity in the IT world.”
re; that if someone has a brilliant idea, he or she can pass over the natural barrier of the boss, submit the idea and execute it”, emphasizes Seineldin. This actually happened: looking at the work of his co-workers, a young man developed a device which achieved a 30 % higher productivity, and ended up explaining how it worked to the development area of one of the local unicorns.
Next year, a look on the Arbusta experience is being prepared: “It is the difference between social assistance, and the gaze of challenge and opportunity”, summarizes its Director.