It is estimated that there are about 150 social enterprises in Malaysia that are operating primarily in the fields of education, poverty, rural development and environmental sustainability, among many other fields. Many at times, it’s quite a challenge for these socially driven enterprises to raise significant amounts of capital to fund their efforts.
MaGIC’s Social Enterprise (SE) arm is driven by the mandate to empower such enterprises and to champion the growth of similar enterprises within the region. As such, they recently held their Amplify Awards that would equip 9 social enterprises with a grant of up to RM150K each.
This award was granted to enterprises that had a unique and an innovative value proposition, and was addressing a clear problem in Malaysia. They were also required to have a credible team, a financially sustainable model and a potential to scale and the opportunity to affect change in Malaysia.
Here’s a list of these 9 enterprises that were selected out of the 31 enterprises that applied to receive the award.
1. The Truly Loving Company
The Truly Loving Company produces mainly household products such as kitchen cleaners, floor cleaners, bathroom cleaners, etc., as a way to generate a long term, sustainable income for charities.
Founded and led by Julia Chong, the company gives 100% of its dividends to charity, and PB Trustee Services BHD holds 99% of their shares.
2. Riverside Travel & Tours Sdn Bhd
This company sponsors charitable and educational projects organised by Kelab Kebajikan & Pendidikan Puncak (Puncak Charity and Educational Club), a registered NGO that works to serve the poor in the Bujang Valley, Kedah, Malaysia. They also work with Puncak Club to conserve the Merbok River and its mangrove forests from the encroachment of pollution.
3. TBB Batik Boutique
Founded by Kylin Kwan, this enterprise employs women from lower income groups as seamstresses. The enterprise is driven by the vision to empower the urban poor in communities and to help them transform their lives.
Family-operated businesses in rural Malaysia create the batik textiles by hand, and these fabrics are delivered to women who sew them in their homes or at their sewing training center. The enterprise also shares a portion of its proceeds to the needs of the community around them.
4. Heart Treasures Sdn Bhd
Founded and managed by Kiew Boon Siew, this enterprise is set out to help youths (their angels) with autism, development delay (slow-learners), cerebral palsy, among other disabilities, by getting them to handcraft products as part of their motor skills development and occupational therapy. This, they hope will help open up career opportunities for them in the future.
Their long-term vision is to build their own local living-museum where they can present the youths under them as local artisans despite their conditions while reaching out to the community and society at large.
5. Tanoti Sdn Bhd
This enterprise started as a research and development workshop set up by Yayasan Tuanku Nur Zahirah foundation in 2008. This enterprise has a vision to improve lives of women and rural communities through the ancient art of songket weaving, and it brings together Sarawakian women weavers and artisans dedicated to the craft.
6. Dialogue in the Dark Sdn Bhd
Visitors of Dialogue in the Dark are led by blind guides in groups through specially constructed dark rooms in which the scent, sound, wind, temperature and texture convey the characteristics of daily environments. People who can see are taken out of their familiar environment and the blind provide them with security and a sense of orientation by transmitting them to a world without light.
Stevens Chan Kum Fai, the founder and CEO of the enterprise believes that this will help people discover empathy while empowering the visually impaired community at the same time.
7. The Food For Good Project (via ROCARO Group Sdn Bhd)
The Food For Good Project allows companies to use their existing entertainment budget to impact underprivileged children at no extra cost to the companies. In essence, when they reallocate their existing entertainment or events budget to The Food For Good Project, the meals raised through the spending can be allocated to their own CSR project.
Ronald Khoo Swee Keat, the Chief Happiness Officer is looking to grow this B2B model by introducing technology that aggregates and tracks corporate spending through their alliance.
8. ANB Agro Trainers
Founded by Gugen Navamani, a former lecturer, this enterprise promotes an agriculture-based community empowerment model, where the individual’s personal and professional growth is facilitated through holistic human capital development training and programmes. This in turn, creates a customised and a sustainable livelihood opportunity for poor and disempowered community members.
9. Biji Biji Design Sdn Bhd
This enterprise began as an organisation that makes products from waste materials back in 2013. Today, they provide a range of services from capturing the value of waste, to electronic systems and automation, educational workshops, renewable energy sources, among others, to the public.
Syaril Azam, the founder and the Creative Director of the Biji-biji initiative hopes to involve as many people as they can in their project. Each time a customer purchases one of their products, the customer will contribute points to the organisation. These points will allow them to provide more enterprising opportunities to other people and it amplifies the social impact they are looking to make.
These are the second batch of enterprises that are receiving the Amplify Award. Previously, MaGIC SE made a commitment of RM500K through the Amplify Awards to five social enterprises, in order to help them grow and scale up.
They claim that RM500K that was invested last year resulted in an annual turnover of RM3.4M. In essence, this means that for every RM1.00 that they invested, the social enterprise was able to achieve a RM7.00 return.
Hopefully this year’s recipients achieve a similar, or even better, result.