The winning social enterprises are Arus, Do Something Good, Earth Heir, Fur Kids, MyBakery, and Sustainable Building Initiative. Each received RM40,000 in seed funding along with a training and mentorship package to guide them through the formative years of their businesses.
The fourth wave of Entrepreneurs For Good began in January with 14 promising social enterprises shortlisted to pitch for the award in front of a panel of judges comprised of industry leaders and mentors in the social enterprise sector. The other finalists include Bulk Buying Community Portal, MyDiD Call Centre and Jar Time.
Since 2013, the Entrepreneurs For Good has been offering financial support and training to local social enterprises. They are businesses that not only to seek profit to sustain operations, but with the overarching goal of improving lives of their local communities. Previous winners include Biji-Biji Initiative and Ecocentric Transitions.
Gavin Anderson, country director for British Council Malaysia said that Entrepreneurs For Good is in line with the Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre’s (MaGIC) Social Enterprise Blueprint revealed last month.
“Social entrepreneurship is a powerful business model to drive social change. We are confident that Entrepreneurs For Good is playing a significant part in supporting the growth of the social enterprise,” he said.
According to MaGIC Social Entrepreneurship’s three-year blueprint to accelerate the development of Malaysia’s social entrepreneurship, there are roughly 100 local social enterprises operating in the areas of education, environmental sustainability and at-risk youth.
In December last year, MaGIC’s Amplify Awards gave out RM500,000 in total to five social enterprises which include Arus and Epic Homes which works together with Sustainable Building Initiative.
What winning RM40,000 means
According to the finalists, winning will only accelerate the growth but even if they didn’t receive the grant money, business will continue as usual.
One of the awardees, Earth Heir, is dedicated to the creation and preservation of heritage art forms. It was founded three-years ago and the grant will allow the team to grow their footprint, travel further into rural areas to connect with more traditional craftsmen and to finally open a showroom in Kuala Lumpur.
Sasibai Kimis, co-founder Earth Heir (centre). Photo by Patrick Goh.
“What I’m really glad is that this will now mean we can build our showroom and gallery. The products that we’re selling are tactile. We are telling people it’s handmade so we want people to tell the difference between something that is store bought or machine made,” says co-founder Sasibai Kimis.
In the long-run, Earth Heir’s greater vision is to raise awareness about conscious consumption. “We have become so cut-off from production and we don’t know where our food comes from or how they are made. All these things have consequences in our lives and for the planet. We felt that our greater goal is to increase awareness of ethical consumption. We hope that this will pave the road towards that,” she adds.
For MyBakery CEO, Devasharma Gangadaran says winning the grant will give his students the confidence boost and validation that their efforts have been worthwhile. He works with young people and those from challenging backgrounds to train them in the art of baking. With the RM40,000, MyBakery aims to focus on its supply chain, branding and online platform.
MyBakery is a business under MySkills Foundation which aims to address the problems of underachievers and school drop-outs. According to them, over 10,000 students are leaving school every year, before reaching SPM-level. The goal is integrate these “bottom-of-the-pyramid” students into society through market relevant skills training that would ensure sustainable employment.
Focus: Education and low-income
Arus provides introductory training courses in coding and programming at various schools and learning centres. Proceeds are channeled towards hosting free courses at schools in low-income communities which provide a more thorough curriculum that integrates science, technology, arts, engineering and mathematics in all of its class projects. Through hands on and project based learning, Arus hopes to bring meaning and relevance to the students learning, thus motivating them to do better in school and help to close the education and opportunity gap in low-income communities.
Do Something Good
Focus: Volunteering and NGOs
Do Something Good bridges the gap between potential volunteers, NGOs looking for volunteers and companies who wish to engage in CSR activities. Working with companies to develop CSR activities and team-building for their employees, Do Something Good aims to build long-term partnerships between volunteers and the NGOs which need their help. By setting up sustainable and scalable volunteering programmes for these NGOs, Do Something Good lays the groundwork for them to continue to attract and effectively make use of volunteers in the long run.
Focus: Traditional craftsmanship, employment and environment
Earth Heir supports the training of artisans to preserve traditional heritage skills while also reducing unemployment and poverty by creating partnership to connect their luxury products to the right markets. Seeking to ensure fair working conditions and create sustainable livelihoods, Earth Heir also supports underprivileged groups including UNHCR refugees and the disabled. Products are handcrafted using eco-friendly materials and a portion of the proceeds go towards charities supporting when at risk and trafficking survivors.
Focus: Animal Welfare
Fur Kids aims to open a suit of pet services which include a pet cafe, pet hotel, grooming and rehabilitation services. In addition to enabling pet owners to spend more time with their pets, they provide opportunities for education on pet nutrition, care and ownership. Proceeds from these pet services will be channeled towards Fur Kids’ main objective — rescuing and rehabilitating injured and abused animals from dangerous situations.
Focus: Employment, youth and people with disabilities
MyBakery works with young people and those from challenging backgrounds to train them in the art of baking. By teaching these people the skills they need to create authentic, healthy baked produce using traditional recipes, MyBakery provides future opportunities for employment and business ownership in a growing market. The goods produced will be supplied to an external market as well as at a cafe on the premises, with the proceeds reinvested into the training programmes.
Sustainable Building Initiative
Focus: Environmental Sustainability
Sustainable Building Initiative provides consultancy services to enable businesses to become more environmentally friendly with their energy use and carbon footprint. In addition, Sustainable Building Initiative offers design and building services to create low-cost, environmentally sustainable homes and buildings which reduce waste and energy consumption for those from low-income communities.