Not many are able to speed talk from start to end about their products and company, but the startups present at MaGIC’s Accelerator Programme Social Enterprise track’s Demo Day, must have repeated their pitch a thousand times beforehand. They were after all, hoping to receive funding to further grow their business plan.
The MaGIC program is more than just an accelerator, it also focuses on enhancing the local social entrepreneurship ecosystem. Hence, out of the 25 startups who left it all on the pitch floor, here were 8 outstanding ones, in no particular order.
1. Sewist Nest
Not many are privy to whose pair of hands have painstakingly toiled at sewing their outfit from scratch. It isn’t always so, but these hands do sometimes belong to the poor. This is where Sewist Nest, a humanity driven sociopreneur startup in Malaysia, managed to address an ever-growing problem by providing jobs for the refugees.
Sewist Nest collaborated with several partners inclusive of UNHCR and The Fugee School, to run sewing training programs in order to properly equip refugees on how to sew, and later on sell their sewn products.
As of the end of October, Sewist Nest has managed to empower close to 20 refugees to essentially become their own small-scaled entrepreneurs.
2. 100% Project
Within every nation, education will always be an important aspect of the country to grow and expand. This is because wisdom is powerful and most of all, it empowers its citizens to step outside of their own circle to impact others.
100% Project is a crowdfunding platform for education, and they recognised how the education system in Malaysia still requires much funding in order for it to grow. In fact, teachers and educators often times have the desire to implement certain programmes or even bring their students out on field trips, but they lack the money to do so. That is where the startup steps in to aid these educators.
Since their launch in October, 100% Project has managed to raise RM15,000 in their first 10 days and fully funded 4 school projects.
3. The Nasi Lemak Project
Nasi lemak is a staple meal for Malaysians, and The Nasi Lemak Project’s entire basis is around this delectable dish. They sell the nasi lemak cooked by people who come from urban poor family backgrounds. These cooks with a less-than-RM900 monthly income can feed others and in turn earn an income to feed their own families.
The Nasi Lemak Project (TNLP) kills two birds with one stone through their initiative. They train the urban poor community on how to whip up delicious nasi lemak. TNLP will then purchase the meals from them to sell to urban office workers who are looking to have delicious lunch time meals but are boggled by the variety of choices.
Since their inception, TNLP has seen at least a 50% increase of monthly income for the families, from their nasi lemak sales.
It may be a little scary to think of it, but us Malaysians waste around 15 million kilogrammes of food per day—food that is able to feed up to 7.5 million people. Ironically though, hunger is one of the main causes of death, killing more people every year when compared with Malaria, AIDS and tuberculosis, combined.
FoodNinja is a startup that wants to bring that number down to zero and though it may sound a tad bit too ambitious, they are still actively providing their set of solutions through different channels to interested stakeholders. They are an online platform that connects the surplus food of business units to the charities that feed the poor and run social campaigns that unite youths to raise awareness and eradicate food waste.
FoodNinja aims to extend their business unit to include more hypermarkets and supermarkets nationwide, targeting 120 Giant outlets and 52 Tesco outlets.
Fashion might be one of human’s best ways of expressing themselves, seeing since each person interprets it differently. However, it is also the 2nd most polluting industry in the world. Aiming to address this problem, Cherrybomb is a lifestyle and fashion e-commerce platform that creates sustainable clothing, without skimping on the design.
By using leftover fabric from garment factories, they are making use of the excess materials to create brand new pieces of women’s clothing.
As of October 2015, Cherrybomb has managed to garner an estimate of RM8,000 in sales and currently have their outfits sold on Zalora and Fashion Valet, as well as have a partnership with Shopprapp.
6. Backyard Tour Sdn Bhd
East Malaysia is a beautiful location in Malaysia, but there may not be as many work opportunities in the rural villages. As such, an estimate of 30% of rural Sarawakian youths find it difficult to look for a job after completing their education.
What Backyard Tour Sdn Bhd does is to help these marginalised youth by training them to conduct community-based tourism in their own villages. The startup will then represent them by connecting them to travellers, as well as facilitate tours upon requests.
To date, Backyard Tours has booked 110 travelers and the youths working with them have carried out an average of 8 tours from March till August of this year, thus increasing their average monthly income to an estimate of RM171.
The quality of life for families of the differently-abled community in Malaysia is poor as it is difficult so source for various options for care. This is a known fact, not only in Malaysia, but in other parts of the world as well.
WeCAREJourney wants to be the one-stop portal which connects family members of the differently-abled to providers of care and support. This eases the burden off families who really would appreciate a helping hand.
To date, the startup has been able to make a difference in the life of the community by organising an Art Jam event for 20 families whereby they managed to raise RM3,500 from the auction.
If we were to look around our home, car and even workplace, we may find certain items which are no longer in use and to term that as unwanted may be a little harsh. Gratis, a startup that collects items which are no longer in use, may term it instead as ‘preloved’.
The startup connects people who no longer want their old items, with the underprivileged who are in need of these items. With their efforts, they are able to reduce the waste that would end up in the pile of landfill anyway. By donating preloved items, donors also get to receive points which translates to perks such as vouchers. This will provide the community with an incentive to donate more.
Thus far, Gratis has been able to find a new home for random thingamabobs like plastic food containers to old school handphones and microwave ovens. As for Gratis’ short term goals, they are looking to achieve their first 1,000 users.
Certainly, it was difficult to choose just 8 startups from the batch but every startup truly enjoyed doing what it is that they do, and that was what translated into passion as they pitched. If you’d like to see the full list of startups from the Social Enterprise track of MaGIC’s Accelerator Programme, you can check that out here.