The idea of social entrepreneurship has been garnering lots of interest and support. Perhaps it is from the many successful endeavours which we’ve witnessed around us and the positive impact these social enterprises are directly affecting in our community.
Large corporations are also showing their support in this scene by initiating projects such as the Arthur Guinness Projects.
“The Arthur Guinness Projects champions extraordinary people with bold ideas to change the world. Last year RM240,000 worth of support was given to six teams of people with inspiring visions to transform communities across Malaysia. This year, the Arthur Guinness Projects is set to once again help social entrepreneurs turn their dreams into reality.”
Many applicants around Malaysia took part in this project, each with their own unique social business model combining a genius formula of profit-making and solving social issues. The Arthur Guinness Projects selected these 6 social enterprises are their winners:
- The Mad Experience – MAD’s aim is to reduce poverty in this region by addressing the specific social problems that make and keep people poor (commonly known as Millennium Development Goals). The focus is on providing essentials like food, water, sanitation, healthcare, education and access to credit. This is done by empowering everyday folk to raise funds for poverty alleviation projects and offer them an opportunity to meet the communities to see how they are making a difference. After identifying non-profit partners with a successful track record of operating in disadvantaged communities in Asia, we will visit them to run thorough checks to ensure that the funds raised will be used for the intended cause to start personal online crowd fundraising campaigns. We want to help non-profit partners stay sustainable by financing their projects through our fundraising. Finally, we would like to help the disadvantaged out of poverty by funding them.
- Ecocentric Transitions – Ecocentric Transitions aspires to build community through shared values, skills building and collaboration. We are also committed to cultivating an environmentally conscioussociety, promoting social change and supporting the goals of sustainable society. We are the go-to workshop provider for environmental education and sustainable living. We are aiming to raise the level of environmental empathy through hands-on activities in the areas of waste & resources, food security, environmental education and sustainable living (which includes appropriate technology). Ecocentric Transitions provides an opportunity for skills building and pre learning. We are also always available to facilitate community initiated projects.
- ShuttleGo – This idea came up in order to solve the “first mile problem” in public transport. This problem is prevalent amongst those who live within a 5km radius of their local train station and have difficulty travelling to the train station in the first place. ShuttleGo offers short distance, low density private shuttle services mainly to urban / suburban apartment dwellers Due to the short travel distance, the shuttle bus can run more often, which greatly minimises customers’ waiting time. Other beneficiaries are urban poor semi-employed youth who can be trained and groomed to drive and manage operations. This is a feasible solution to take the train and a reasonable alternative to avoid driving to work and going through the jam.
- Cleanbites – Cleanbites offers an introduction to healthy eating. This idea came up as most Malaysian food is unhealthy. It’s either too oily or too high in carbohydrates. There are some healthy choices, but they are either vegetarian, organic or vegan. Cleanbites serves delicious, healthy and balanced food. The main focus is to get people to eat more healthily by providing a convenient delivery service at lunch and a pickup system for breakfast.
- Catama Craft Enterprise – This enterprise works within Sarawak, in rural and underprivileged communities with female craft makers in particular to help them gain economic stability through the development of high quality, contemporary craft products. The enterprise is responding to a lack of mid to high-end contemporary craft products designed and made by Sarawakian artists. Catama also works with female craft makers from rural communities to explore, develop and prototype new products with a product designer. The crafts will be marketed and sold to local and international consumers. The profits will be shared with rural communities to provide women and their communities with economic stability. The enterprise also aims to ensure the preservation of traditional skills and knowledge.
- BYOB Green Concepts Sdn. Bhd. – The mission is to educate society about the dangers of plastic pollution and to stop people from treating this as rubbish. BYOB stands for Bring Your Own Bottles, an environmentally-friendly store built with the 3R concept (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle). The whole point is to stop paying for plastic materials and instead to encourage people to bring their own bottles to our stores and refill them with household detergents. We aim to offer these services to household consumers, building management, institutions, public healthcare centres, local municipal councils, childcare centres and old folk’s homes, whilst reducing pollution and creating eco-responsible awareness.
People’s Choice Award :
- Tanoti Sdn Bhd – The aim of Tanoti is to save the ancient craft of ‘songket ‘weaving by making it relevant in today’s society and to empower womenfolk by equipping them with the skills of making a living, while sustaining their income by providing them access to markets. Tanoti is building a foundation to establish and sustain an entire industry surrounding handcrafted textiles. The core activity is running songket weaving workshops, with ancillary activities being the finishing and packaging of value-added songket products, marketing retail and sales, training new recruits and agents of Lurex threads. Tanoti has also developed a project with a Penan village community to bring their plaited products to larger markets.
*Information gathered from www.britishcouncil.my
It is indeed encouraging to see fellow Malaysians being so aware of social issues around us and taking the initiative to solve them with modern business approaches. As for the rest of us, let’s gather inspiration from these amazing people and offer our support by putting in little actions that can help create a chain reaction in solving common social issues in our country.