Phoenix Design Aid's managing director, Dennis Nielsen, climbed to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro earlier this year, thereby placing social responsibility at the absolute centre of the company's attention.

The initiative

"With better understanding, endurance and cooperation it is possible to reach new peaks." Having this slogan in mind, the Kilimanjaro Initiative carefully selected and united 10 youths and 14 representatives from the private and public sectors under the same goal: To successfully climb Mount Kilimanjaro as part of an attempt to raise funds for community projects in Kenya and Tanzania. A personal invitation allowed managing director Dennis Nielsen to participate in this event. To Dennis Nielsen, Phoenix Design Aid's commitment to the Kilimanjaro Initiative undoubtedly arises from a strong social responsibility. "CSR is an integral part of our business strategy, and has given us the strength to take on the challenge and climb the summit of Africa to support a commendable cause", he says.


Mount Kilimanjaro acts as a perfect metaphor for life. It teaches climbers to understand the environment, work in teams, walk one step at a time, and persevere. The journey made it possible for the participants to exchange experiences across cultures and borders as well as dreams and plans for the future. Talks of this kind actually resulted in close ties among the participants. Dennis Nielsen spent many hours in close dialogue with John, a 23-year old, unemployed, Kenyan with limited means and network. It was obvious to Dennis that he was dealing with a young man who had great potential, talent and drive. And Dennis Nielson decided to help John make his dreams and goals come true. They agreed to keep in touch so Dennis could be John's coach and mentor during the years to come, by following his development and contribute with advice and guidance. Initially, the communication between the two is handled via e-mail while better channels for mentoring are being established.

The fact that Dennis Nielsen himself participated in the Kilimanjaro climb clearly emphasises the company's desire to make a difference. The mentor agreement is but one of many success stories from this year's Kilimanjaro climb and many participants can report on similar actions to promote further development and follow-up. Dennis Nielsen puts it into words: "It upsets me that people with such obvious talent do not get a chance to use their potential, and I hope that my collaboration with John will make his talent flourish".