What barriers might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?
One barrier comes from new government policies for employment services targeting people with disabilities. Organizations operating registered employment services and receiving government resources are now required by the Council of Labor Affairs to have at least 50% of their staff composed of employees unable to work in a competitive employment setting (usually people with severe handicap). This new policy requires long term or permanent placement of employees, as opposed to transitional employment. Furthermore, Taipei City government, which leases the land on which is built the main carwash center, now requires that contributions to the city’s Disability Employment Fund be calculated based on revenue from operations instead of profits. These policies not only affect future expansion by raising costs and lowering revenues, but also by going against the operation model of Sunshine based on encouraging reintegration in the open labor market.
Another barrier is the difficulty of cultivating able managers for future expansion. The aim is for carwash centers to be managed by people with disabilities, but this is a process that requires time and is also dependent upon individuals’ interest and motivation.
Tell us about your partnerships
Taipei City government: Since 1992, Taipei City government has been leasing the land for the main carwash center (Heping branch).
Council of Labor Affairs: Sunshine partners with the Bureau of Employment and Vocational Training of the Council of Labor Affairs to organize car care specialist training. The Council also provides funding for salaries of vocational counselors working with employees with disabilities.
Pegatron Corp.: Pegatron Corp. is a leading DMS (Design and Manufacturing Service) company specialized in electronics. The company worked with Sunshine to secure a location close to their headquarters in Taipei, and in 2010 sponsored the construction and purchase of equipment for the new Guandu Branch of the Sunshine Carwash Center.
Car care product suppliers: Sunshine Carwash Centers partner with various car care product suppliers, who provide training to employees or partner in marketing activities.
Explain your selections
Individuals support the development of Sunshine Carwash Centers through donations made to Sunshine Foundation. A portion of the Foundation’s income from donations is used towards vocational service development for employees with disability.
Customers support the Sunshine Carwash Centers by purchasing services and products.
Local NGOs working with people with disabilities support the Sunshine Carwash Centers by referring their service beneficiaries to become employees.
Businesses support the Sunshine Carwash Centers by organizing corporate volunteering activities, by providing technical support and sharing expertise, as well as by investing in the expansion of the carwash centers.
The regional government (Taipei City) support the Sunshine Carwash Centers by leasing land in Taipei City for the main carwash center (Heping branch).
The national government, through the Council of Labor Affairs, supports the Sunshine Carwash Centers by partnering to organize professional/vocational training, as well as providing partial subsidies for the salaries vocational counselors.
How do you plan to strengthen your project in the next three years?
1. Link corporate resources for common benefit: As companies explore new ways to demonstrate corporate social responsibility, Sunshine Carwash Centers will seek further corporate support for the expansion of carwash branches, notably through funding, but also through the contribution of business know-how like planning, market analysis and marketing.
2. Expand market coverage to increase visibility and customer loyalty: Carwash centers are highly localized businesses, and customers tend to choose a carwash close to their home or their workplace. With its 3 new branches, Sunshine is experimenting with different models: small neighborhood branch, larger corporate-sponsored branch in industrial/IT park, etc. By opening branches in the greater Taipei area, Sunshine will increase visibility of the carwash business. Also, by creating a membership program, Sunshine aims to strengthen customer loyalty.
3. Allow people with disabilities to become their own boss: After having opened new branches and by cultivating the skills of employees with disabilities to become managers, it is hoped that in a few years time, the branches operated directly by Sunshine can be progressively devolved to the managers as franchises, allowing them to become their on boss.