- Between the Chivas Venture Voting Period and making it to the final five, Picha Project’s entry into Chivas Venture 2018 netted them US$53,182 in funding.
- They fought to the top five out of 27 other finalists that made it to Oxford University, and another 2,600 applications that made it to Chivas Venture this year.
- Picha Project is the first Malaysian finalist to reach the final five in Chivas Venture.
Two years ago, three university students volunteered at a refugee learning center and learned about the unfair circumstances that refugees go through every day. This sparked an idea for a food delivery business that aims to both fill bellies, and return dignity back to the lives of refugees in Malaysia.
Fast-forward to last week in Amsterdam, and Picha Project stood among the 5 social enterprise finalists of the global Chivas Venture 2018—in front of techpreneur and celebrity will.i.am to boot.
The team now toasts to US$50,000 (RM199,050) for the pitching efforts of co-founder Kim Lim, and through the team’s collective efforts to deliver and monetise food cooked by refugees in Malaysia.
Unfortunately, refugees in Malaysia are not legally allowed to work. This makes them susceptible to exploitation and a poor quality of life. Picha Project’s food delivery and catering business allows them a gainful way to earn a living, while offering Malaysians the opportunity to sample cuisine that wouldn’t otherwise be available to them.
Picha Project was among the 2,600 global entries submitted to the Chivas Venture 2018. They faced stiff competition in January before getting selected as the only Malaysian Social Enterprise to compete among the 27 finalists in Amsterdam.
On top of the funding granted by the judges, the Picha Project also scored a US$3,182 cut from the accompanying popularity contest, the Chivas Venture Voting Period.
This brings Picha Project’s total winnings up to US$53,182 (RM211,717.54) for their social enterprise.
Picha Project stands out as the first time a Malaysian finalist made it to the final five of Chivas Venture.
Considering the scope of Chivas Venture 2018, Picha Project’s Suzanne Ling, Kim Lim and Lee Swee Lin told themselves that joining this contest would just be for gaining experience—to understand how Picha Project stands on a global stage.
After all at two-years-old, “we were pretty much babies,” recalled Kim.
“It wasn’t about winning during the top 5 finals presentation at the Next Web Conference, though winning would be a bonus. But it was really to provide refugees a voice and dignity.”
– Kim Lim, co-founder of Picha Project
“We did not win this competition, but we won hearts of many, proving to the world that Malaysia can do something great for its nation and people, putting Malaysia’s social enterprises on the map.”
When The Picha Project made it to the final five, they were able to stand in front of a large crowd of both physical attendees and the many more who live-streamed the event—and prove that something like Picha Project can exist to empower refugees beyond just Malaysia.
Besides the cash prize, Picha Project is returning with a global mindset, and learnings from their months-long stint at Oxford University, organised by Chivas Venture in collaboration with Skoll Centre.
Kim stated that they will be incorporating their learnings into Picha Project moving forward.
Picha Project has already mapped out what they want to do with their winnings.
A lot of the funding would go into research and development, like research into more non-perishable products.
Picha Project already offers Dry Sambal and Pichacotti, but they see what the families have to offer, and they’re looking into research and tests to help refugee families bring more food onto shelves.
They’ll also look into streamlining their operations, particularly working around the fact that a central kitchen doesn’t suit their objectives. So they would look at launching Picha Kiosks in high-traffic areas, and to build a more effective operations system to bring all their refugee families together.
We’ve reached out to Picha Project for further comment and will update this space with their response.
- Co-founder Suzanne Lim gave a resonating graduation speech about how fresh grads can actually make use of their qualifications to better the world, which can be read here.
Feature Image Credit: Chivas Venture