Entrepreneur

Chivas Venture Toasts Startups Who Do Good With US$1 Mil So That Nice Guys Don’t Finish Last

You know the phrase “those who do good will be rewarded”?

Chivas Regal seems to be a believer of this—they’ve come back to our shores and opened up their Chivas Venture 2018 applications to Malaysian social enterprises once more.

Chivas Venture is basically a worldwide search to champion the next generation of social enterprises and startups that carry the whole idea of “profit with purpose”.

A.K.A entrepreneurs who believe the world can be a better place and are using their businesses as a force of good.

If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. Almost 6,000 social enterprises have applied for a chance to win a part of the annual US$1 million fund.

Startups across 5 continents are taking part in the Chivas Venture, so they’ve split it into two main parts: The Local Stages and The Global Stages.

During the local stage, you can submit your application online and get called for an interview by the local jury.

If you impress them enough, you’ll be a top 5 finalist pitching in front of a live audience and the jury panel for a shot at representing Malaysia at the global stage.

The local panel judges include Ehon Chan (Executive Director of ASEAN Centre of Entrepreneurship); Ho Kay Tat (Publisher and Group CEO of The Edge Media Group); Freda Liu (producer, presenter and anchor for BFM89.9: The Business Station’s ‘Enterprise’ programme); and Sébastien Mouquet (Managing Director of Pernod Ricard Malaysia).

Here’s the cool part. Chivas Regal will fly the chosen one for an exclusive Accelerator Week mentorship programme with the rest of the finalists from all over the world. There will be practical workshops and global experts who will share their insights on critical topics that affect social startups.

After that, it’s time to woo the public to vote for your enterprise. If you prove to be the most popular out of the 28 startups throughout the 3 week voting period, you could walk away with the first US$200,000 from the US$1 million fund.

Your next shot at the pot will come at the final stage of the Chivas Venture where all the finalists pitch to a panel of international judges (in front of a live audience) for the remaining US$800,000.

Last year’s champion came all the way from Thailand. The aptly named Siam Organic works with small-scale farmers to grow Jasberry rice (a new variety of non-GMO whole grain rice).

At the finale in Los Angeles last July, they were announced as a standout winner of the competition, walking away with the largest contribution from the Chivas Venture fund, receiving US$400,000.

Image Credit: folofarms.com

Malaysia’s rep at the final stage last year was FOLO Farms, represented by co-founder Will Chua.

His social enterprise focuses on recovering 3 tonnes of food waste daily, which is then converted into compost to grow healthy, organic vegetables to feed a community of close to 100 families in Johor Bahru.

They came back home with US$10,771.62 in funding after winning the public’s heart during the voting phase.

Let me in on this!

Before we move on, here’re the criteria to meet:

  • Generate no more than US$1.5 million in annual revenue.
  • Registered as a for-profit company in Malaysia.
  • Proficient in English.
  • The representative must be over 25 years of age.

You can be of any “startup age”, whether you’re only at the prototype stage to those who are already scaling with good user traction and sales. The Chivas Venture accepts social enterprises from various points of growth.

One employee per enterprise needs to apply for his or her startup and represent it throughout the phases of the competition.

There isn’t any requirement to be technology-focused, so long as you’re able to tackle a social or environmental issue with an innovative, market-based solution.

“I can show you the world.” – Chivas Regal

Chivas—being a global brand—gives social enterprises an edge. They can learn from the experience gathered throughout the Chivas Venture and be part of a worldwide event.

This is a good catalyst to help enterprises broaden their mindset and move away from a narrow, local focus.

“Too many social enterprises focus on local issues and on building small SMEs, rather than seeing the big picture on a global scale. I think Chivas Venture is a great platform to help these social entrepreneurs get on a global stage,” said Ehon.

Seems like most of the finalists agree with this, because 95% of them said that Chivas Venture has improved their skills as social entrepreneurs while giving their business valuable publicity.

Siam Organics reported that being in Chivas Venture had actually helped them earn 14 times more profit.

Freida added that joining this competition would give a strong sense of credibility to the business as well as a good chance to sharpen an entrepreneur’s presentation skills.

Or, take it straight from Will Chua of FOLO Farms, who urged passionate local social enterprises to apply.

“One of the best ways to find support for your cause is to apply for a global platform like this to put out your idea. Through our experience with the Chivas Venture, we managed to receive good help and advice from the friends we made. I hope that social enterprises will give it a try,” said Will.

He continued by saying though the money and flying around was cool and all, “the overall experience and support was what became more important.”

If you own a social enterprise that you’re really passionate about, this is a pretty good chance to step out of the comfort zone.

You can get an opportunity to pitch to a global audience and an expert panel of judges while learning from like-minded individuals from all over the world.

If this info has gotten you pumped to apply or if you want to find out more, you can visit the Chivas Venture website here. Registration is now open until 28th October.

This article is written in collaboration with Chivas Regal.

Feature Image Credit: Chivas Venture 

Also Credit: From Travel To Takeout: Foodpanda’s New MD Dishes Out His Latest Course In M’sia

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