Wingle Co. – Transforming the impossible into limitless possibilities – developing employment opportunities for people with dis

Wingle Co. – Transforming the impossible into limitless possibilities – developing employment opportunities for people with dis

Japan
Organization type: 
for profit
Budget: 
$1 million - $5 million
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Our aim is to create a society where people with disabilities can work with self respect; a society where an environment in which handicapped individuals working alongside their non-disabled peers at ordinary companies is unremarkable. In order to realize jobs for people with disabilities in ordinary companies, we first need to radically change the thinking of companies. They need both to hire people with disabilities and to foster the specialized knowhow necessary to enable them to work smoothly with their counterparts. For their part, those with disabilities must develop work skills and raise their awareness. Wingle provides a variety of programs to support both sides and is working step by step to make the society we envision a reality.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Japan spends more than 1 trillion yen on public assistance and disability pensions, where, in the case of people with disabilities, only 1% being employed. Monthly wages at sheltered workplaces are in the range of only 12,000 yen/month, with many employees (1.6 million) receiving disability pensions on which they live. However, as government deficits continue to rise, it is clear that measures of this type requiring continued government spending are not sustainable. In this social context, supporting employment for people with disabilities supports the twin goals of restoring their dignity and independence. Employment for people with disabilities stabilizes income that was uncertain due to its dependence on government programs and creates additional taxpayers. However, half of the 1600 offices supporting employment for people with disabilities annually find employment for 0 people, with the average for the rest being a handful of positions. In other words, despite the investment of taxes in the goal of ‘employment for people with disabilities’ the industry standard is a failure to achieve tangible results.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Our company is the first in Japan to establish a remote employment model, leading number of companies in the same industry in Japan to also adopt the remote employment business model. In order to firmly support our objective of employing a great number of people, each of our offices is staffed by someone with a strong business background who can manage the employment needs of the companies in the region. This has resulted in our finding employment for 5 to 8 times as many people as our competitors, annually. We actively employ people from the business sector who, by directing businesses’ attention to the social welfare sector, provide them with a level of service beyond existing industry standards. Supporting people with disabilities in finding employment is a form of social welfare, but it is also proof of a business’s having arrived. Our acknowledged track record in supporting people with disabilities in finding employment has led to our being selected to advise municipalities in setting up employment support centers and to our being entrusted by the government in establishing some of their employment support stimulation policies.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Notwithstanding a legal obligation to hire people with disabilities, their rate of employment has remained unchanged in a large number of companies so Wingle provides these companies with 1) remote employment services, 2) consulting to facilitate the hiring of people with disabilities, and 3) outsourcing services. For 1) above, Wingle uses its network of 17 locations across the country to establish satellite offices for companies that have offices only in large cities and who find it difficult to hire people with disabilities, supporting people with disabilities living in rural areas who are looking for work by providing opportunities for remote hiring. This service has permitted a large number of companies to hire people with disabilities and capitalizes on regional differences to substantially reduce the cost of hiring, advancing CSR objectives by creating rural employment. For the benefit of people with disabilities, we have opened employment support centers that offer job training and create individualized support plans based on the individual’s work goals and providing programs that help them to acquire necessary work skills, workplace behaviour and job hunting skills.
About You
Organization:
Wingle Co.
About You
First Name

Atsumi

Last Name

Hasegawa

Facebook Profile
About Your Organization
Organization Name

Wingle Co.

Organization Country

, 3

Country where this project is creating social impact
How long has your organization been operating?

More than 5 years

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Innovation
What stage is your project in?

Operating for more than 5 years

Share the story of the founder and what inspired the founder to start this project

For founder Takahiro SATO, the impetus for this work came from having an uncle with a disability and he became involved in establishing welfare facilities while in university. He entered government service in Nagano Prefecture at age 24. Through his involvement with welfare administration he tried to overcome the disparity between rural and urban areas in employment for people with disabilities by proposing to use IT in a remote employment scheme. While administering the idea he became aware of limitations to implementing it and founded Wingle in December 2005, growing the business to annual sales of 5 billion yen in its 4th year. Akemi Hasegawa, the company’s current President, joined Wingle in 2008 after graduating from university and was named a Managing Director in August 2008, after serving for 1 year and 3 months as Director of Sales. President Hasegawa is the author of the company’s current vision and business strategies.
Reference: http://case.dreamgate.gr.jp/mbl_t/id=818 

Social Impact
Please describe how your project has been successful and how that success is measured

Each of Wingle’s employment support centers helps an average of 20.1 people/year find employment (national average number of people/year). The highest number achieved by a center in one year was 32. We take pride in our success, as reflected in the strength of the social function performed by our employment assistance infrastructure. In addition to providing services to approximately 400 businesses, our consulting business supported 114 people in finding employment through 19 projects carried out in 2010 and our employment training operation supported 155 individuals (in 2010).
Our success indicators are comprised by the number of people with disabilities who were connected with employment and the number of companies served, by each Wingle office. In the case of work transition assistance, we have made an effort to reduce subsidies from taxes during the period until a person with a disability can find employment and the current cost per person employed at our company is 2.6 million yen, which is much cheaper than the national average. We plan to continue measuring these indices.

How many people have been impacted by your project?

1,001- 10,000

How many people could be impacted by your project in the next three years?

More than 10,000

How will your project evolve over the next three years?

We intend to expand from our current 17 employment training centers to 75 centers over the next 3 years. Our plan is to provide employment training to 7,500 or more individuals. We also believe it necessary to raise the standards for the average number of people employed nationally through our employment support facilities and will actively seek advice from other organizations and from government. We are also committed to finding employment for a steady stream of individuals not only through our company, but on a regional and national basis. In addition, we started a rehabilitation program for children with disabilities in June of this year.

Sustainability
What barriers might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?

We are seeing a tendency among some of the clients for whom we consult who have hired people with disabilities to trust us so completely as to leave the entire process to us. Our goal is to bring companies around to where they hire people with disabilities not because they are required to, but as part of their overall strategy, so the situation as outlined above could be considered our greatest failure.
In response, during the sales phase we propose to clients a time when we will withdraw our support, a ‘fading period’ that allows us to jointly set goals.
This has created a situation where support is unnecessary for almost all of the companies we work with, despite the existence of satellite offices set up to provide support. Our goal going forward to is to continue to implement this strategy.

Tell us about your partnerships

• Banks, shareholders, other private investors: these are investment partners who will help us to expand the business
• Regional medical centers: we ask them for medical support for people with disabilities during training for the transition to employment
• Welfare institutions and support groups for people with disabilities: these partners provide a network of lifestyle supports backup for people with disabilities during their training period
• Hello Work: they cooperate with us in supporting employment searches for people with disabilities during their training period
• Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare central and regional agencies: consultative partner with whom we cooperate on improving systems associated with employment for people with disabilities

Explain your selections

Explain your selections
• Revenues from consulting and outsourcing account for approximately 50% of our revenues. We acquire customers by engaging in steady and reliable business activities.
• We received government training grants for our employment transition support activities, which account for approximately 50% of our revenues.

How do you plan to strengthen your project in the next three years?

• Revisions may be made to Social Security as a result of the economic problems facing the government, which in turn might lead to a reduction in our company’s revenues. In order to overcome this problem, Wingle intends to employ thorough organizational research and an operational structure that does not use the social security system to lessen the percentage of the company’s revenue contributed by government subsidies to the extent that high quality programs can be offered even without government subsidies, and to put in place a management model with long-term potential. The expansion of operations to include the establishment of rehabilitative facilities for children with disabilities, for example, will enable us to increase our revenues from private-sector sources.
• Additionally, there is a substantial risk that government approvals might be rescinded should a situation arise where standards are unintentionally violated whether due to ignorance of the requirements or human moral hazard, no matter how much we strengthen our compliance regime. We have employed in-house counsel, strengthened our compliance-management systems, and conduct regular internal examinations in order to implement a management regime that is in complete conformity with the law.

Challenges
Which barriers to employment does your innovation address?
Please select up to three in order of relevancy to your project.

PRIMARY

Restricted access to new markets

SECONDARY

Lack of skills/training

TERTIARY

Lack of efficiency

Please describe how your innovation specifically tackles the barriers listed above.

Because it is difficult to actualize the needs of the disabled and their families, or even to adequately survey them, it is difficult to gather the information required to launch a new venture. To address this problem, we wish to build an online platform for information related to disability in an effort to get a grasp of actual needs by encouraging users to communicate among themselves. We also intend to allocate resources to regional marketing efforts, using our numerous locations. Because we are a company that attracts young staff, we also suffer from a lack of ability and training among our employees, but we intend to overcome this problem by fostering a continuous learning environment and employing a diverse personnel pool and facilitating extensive interaction among them.

Are you trying to scale your organization or initiative?
If yes, please check up to three potential pathways in order of relevancy to you.

PRIMARY

Grown geographic reach: Global

SECONDARY

Influenced other organizations and institutions through the spread of best practices

TERTIARY

Enhanced existing impact through addition of complementary services

Please describe which of your growth activities are current or planned for the immediate future.

We are currently expanding the number of centers we have at a pace of 1 or more per month, which we will maintain until centers are established in every core municipality throughout Japan within 2 years. In addition to increasing the number of those who find employment with our support we are looking for a way to increase the total number of people with disabilities who find employment in Japan. To accomplish those goals we likely need to diverge from traditional ways of doing business and explore new business approaches that work with the regions in a coordinated fashion.

Do you collaborate with any of the following: (Check all that apply)

Government, For profit companies.

If yes, how have these collaborations helped your innovation to succeed?

We regularly report to the government department that created the system for increasing employment for people with disabilities, providing them with feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of the present system, from a business perspective.
In addition, we engage in frank exchanges of opinions with business clients enabling them to get a realistic perspective on factors impeding the ability of people with disabilities to stay employed, from a social welfare point of view. These partnerships are helping us to move our vision closer to both the ideal and the achievable.