SEMENYIH: Enactus UNMC recently organised a social entrepreneurship awareness talk. It was held at F1A11 from 6:20 PM till about 9:30 PM on the 1st of March, 2017.
About the Event.
Speakers from well-known social enterprises were invited to share their experiences, using this event as a platform. They specifically talked about the journey of becoming a successful social entrepreneur. Those invited were three enterprises; The Picha Project, Grub Cycle, and Ecocentric Transitions. Amongst these companies was a special invited guest, the AirAsia Foundation.
20 minutes prior to the event was the setting up of registration booths, where the verification of bought tickets ensued. The three social enterprises invited also had the opportunity to set up a promotion booth. This encouraged networking conversations between the entrepreneurs and participants.
A promotional video by the Enactus team marked the start of the event. Then, the emcees, Eugene Hoo and Fadilla Wahyudi, introduced themselves. They also introduced the speakers for the night and the reason why they were all gathered. Later, the CEO of Enactus UNMC, Akma Kasah, was called upon to give an opening speech. During this, she gave a summary of what the awareness talk was about. The speakers then delivered their presentations.
What Is really a Social Enterprise?
Despite each speaker having their own definition of social entrepreneurship, what stayed constant was business orientation and a desire to strike a social significance in the society at large. As stated by the Enactus promotion video:
“Social enterprise is a business platform which aims to help the underprivileged, improved the environmental wellbeing, whilst creating a social impact”
The Picha Project.
The first speaker of the night was Suzanne Ling, the co-founder and communication officer of The Picha Project. She started off her presentation with a background story of her life journey after graduation. She told the audience of how she started out as a volunteer teacher in 2013 at a refugee camp with two other friends of hers, Kim and Swee Lin, who today, are her partners in founding the enterprise.
According to Miss Ling, The Picha Project was founded in order to equip refugee families with a means to earn a self-sustainable living. This was done via food catering of signature meals from the home countries. The enterprise currently supports families from Iraq, Myanmar, Syria, Afghanistan and Palestine.
She also told the story of how the enterprise kicked started with a hashtag, #GivingTuesday. Then, she touched on the challenges they faced, and the sacrifices they had to make in order to succeed. Finally, she told the story behind the name of the enterprise.
Apparently, the son of the first refugee family they worked with had inspired the name of this group. Later, Fadillah Wahyudi, who was one of the emcees, confessed that she had been moved to tears as Miss Ling’s presentation ended.
Miss Hawanissa, a representative From Grub Cycle, was the next speaker. A legal advocate turned social entrepreneur, she began her presentation with a rundown of her personal journey towards social entrepreneurship. She formally worked in a law firm which she quit to start up this enterprise. This choice of hers, she said, did not come without consequences. Nonetheless, she has strived to put doubts to rest.
She then went on to talk more about Grub Cycle itself. Grub cycle works to combat food wastage by obtaining unsold products from supermarkets, which are close to their expiry date (six months to be safe) to sell to the community at an affordable price. They also collect defected edible packaged products which are considered unmarketable and re-engineer them into something else, with a longer shelf-life. One of the most popular re-engineered product is pineapple jam.
Part of the proceeds garnered are used to subsidise food costs for less privileged families and single mothers. Additionally, they also subsidise a grub bag which comes with a few essential food commodities.
Another interesting fact about Grub Cycle is its app. The Grub cycle app connects users with nearest food vendors, through which you can obtain food at a cheaper price whilst saving the environment. She further explained;
“You can get a cake that sells for RM 12 at RM 6 if you use the Grub Cycle app”.
At this point, the emcees lightened the mood by asking questions based on the previous presentations. The correct answers were rewarded with E-bazaar tickets.
Next up was Nurain Hamdani, from Ecocentric transitions. Just as the speakers before her, she gave a brief introduction about herself. Then she went on to tell the audience about the enterprise.
Ecocentric transitions enterprise specialises in raising environmental empathy through workshops and projects. They are service based, encouraging the adoption of a sustainable lifestyle through experiential and problem-based learning.
These workshops and projects they organised usually targets the younger generations so as to imbibe in them the culture of sustainable and eco-friendly living. This is normally done by games such as charades. They also involve other various demographics in eco-friendly projects.
The AirAsia Foundation.
The last speaker for the night was Diane Foo, a project executive from AirAsia Foundation. Once again, she gave an introduction about herself.
Unlike the other enterprises, hers was a philanthropic arm of AirAsia group of airlines. This foundation came about as a mandate to support the growth of social enterprises in ASEAN.
She went on to add that this foundation functions to give grants to upcoming social enterprises. However, before their grants can receive approval, the guidelines of the application must be satisfied. These guidelines can be found on their web page.
Question and Answer Session.
After all said and done, the floor was opened for question and answers. Sli.do was the platform used to collect live Q&A. All four speakers each had an opportunity to answer a question directed at them.
To wrap up the event, Lim Xin Yee, the event organiser was called upon to deliver a vote of thanks, in which she thanked the audience, speakers and the event team. The emcees acknowledged the presence of the faculty advisor, Pek Chuen Khee and alumnus, Chen May Yie . They also thanked the audience for their earnest participation.
Finally, both Xin Yee and Akma Kasah presented a token of appreciation to all four representatives who honoured the invitation. The event closed with a photo session. Refreshments by The Picha Project was served afterwards.
Written by Dorothy Wene Uche Egede.
Photographs by Ahmed Afrah Ismail.