When Brad Fogg did volunteer work in India, the adventure came with unwelcome insects and other discomforts, as well as a chance to benefit the country and find opportunities for his employer, Dow Corning Corp.
“It was not easy putting up with cold-water showers, bugs, unreliable electricity and stomach problems from the different foods,” said Fogg, a commercial manager in Michigan who went to Ujire in southern India to design a peeling machine for a nut important to the local economy. “But that was all part of the adventure of getting to know India’s society and culture and the opportunities bottom-of-the-pyramid markets offer.”
Dow Corning, a silicone supplier whose materials are used in products from cars to parachutes, is among a wave of companies, including SAP AG (SAP) and International Business Machines Corp. (IBM), sending employees on volunteer assignments to developing countries. In return, the businesses anticipate greater loyalty from workers, improved skills, insight into growth markets and more sales.