Social entrepreneurship is becoming a hot topic in Malaysia’s startup scene. Unlike the other start-ups that we saw recently, social entrepreneurs leverage the use of entrepreneurial principles to plan, develop and manage a sustainable business to achieve social goals. They do not just focus on profit but also emphasise in creating a positive impact and a more equitable society. Here are some up and coming social entrepreneurs who strive to solve social problems in Malaysia.
1) Teach for Malaysia
Teach for Malaysia is an independent social enterprise with a mission to end education inequity in Malaysia. This organisation recruits, trains and support the country’s most promising future leaders, who teach as fellows in high-need classrooms all over the nation. They have over 200 fellows and alumni impacting more than 33,000 students in over 70 schools across 8 states in Malaysia. They hope that one day, all the children in Malaysia will have the opportunity to attain an excellent education and that is a hope we all share.
2) Project ‘Light a Home’
Project ‘Light a Home’ aims to provide much needed light to orang asli settlements, many of which do not have access to electricity. It all started when Cheryl chanced upon Nokero, a solar light bulb. Realising how useful it could be, she joined forces with her friend Alison to start upon this amazing journey. Living in cities or towns that are brightly lit at night, many of us could take light for granted. But for people in rural areas like the orang asli, light could be a difficult-to-attain resource. With solar light bulbs, they can receive light for free and at least the children could study at night, which could make all the difference in their lives. Pledge a lightbulb today by following the steps on their Facebook page.
3) Gerai Orang Asal
Founded in 2004, Gerai Orang Asal (Gerai OA) isn’t your typical business stall. They sell things like heritage crafts, books, CDs and DVDs about or by the indigenous people of Malaysia. To put it more simply, Gerai OA is a volunteer-run, nomadic stall selling crafts by the indigenous people, and 100% of remittance is paid to the named artisan. Their mission is to document, revive and revitalise the heritage crafts of the Orang Asal. This is done via publications, photos, workshops & sales. Support them by having a look at their beautiful crafts.
Kakiseni is self-described as a small team with a big heart for the arts! And every word of that is true when you look at the work they’ve put in to the nation’s performing arts scene. Their core belief is in the value of the performing arts industry in Malaysia’s cultural landscape. A standout in their many initiatives is #BuskStop, which seeks to open up more spaces for public performances, and in this they’re working with DBKL. Another initiative is the annual performing arts festival which takes place in Pavilion, KL. This event’s aim is to bring arts to the public, to foster understanding towards it. You can check out their website to have a better look at the nation’s up-and-coming performing arts scene.
5) Do Something Good
Do Something Good is Malaysia’s one-stop site to volunteering events across Malaysia. This volunteering network helps connect the public and corporate sponsors to the NGOs of the nation. It is a very useful tool for those seeking to be volunteers, donors or just advocates to their cause. All sorts of volunteering activities can be found through this site, from animal welfare, orphanages, old folk’s homes, to flood victims. You can choose initiatives that best suit your personality and skill set to deliver the best help you can.
6) PT Foundation
PT Foundation is a community-based, voluntary non-profit making organisation providing HIV/AIDS education, prevention, care and support programmes, sexuality awareness and empowerment programmes for vulnerable communities in Malaysia. Since 1987, their drop-in centres have been offering food, shelter, care and support to the most stigmatised members of our community. Through their programs, they are able to serve, educate, and support over 50,000 people annually who are most at risk of HIV in Malaysia.
7) EPIC Homes
EPIC (Extraordinary People Impacting Community) is a multiple award winning social enterprise that designs and creates platforms focused on developing people through service experiences. EPIC Homes is one of these platforms. More than 12,000 orang asli families are in need of housing aid in Peninsular Malaysia. Their aim is to lessen those numbers. How do they go about it? First they identify a family. Then they get a team of volunteers (builders) and they build a home. 3 simple steps could make all the difference for a family.
‘Inspiring sustainable living’ is EcoKnights tagline. Their mission is to support all national and international environmental programmes with the emphasis of promoting sustainable development amongst industry players and communities through education, media and corporate outreach programs. They strive to complete their mission through programs such as KL Eco Film Festival, Green Awards Malaysia, Cintai Tioman, community workshops and many others. Anybody can be an EcoKnight as long as you have a passion for the environment. Members of their team come from diverse backgrounds such as business people, athletes, students, retirees, journalists and film makers.