Thursday 15 June 2017

What is Social Entrepreneurship?

Today, social entrepreneurship (SE) is one the rapidly developing fields worldwide. In the United States of America, 22% of the social enterprises have over $2 million in revenue while in Australia, an estimation of 20,000 social enterprises constitutes 2-3% of the country’s GDP. As for in Malaysia, the industry is still undergoing development and has increased in numbers steadily.

So what is social entrepreneurship? 

Social entrepreneurship is the act of combining innovation, resourcefulness, and opportunity to focus on critical social and environmental challenges. A social entrepreneur is able to generate innovative ideas to solve social, cultural or environmental-related issues through their enterprise. They act as independent changemakers that use entrepreneurship principles to develop and manage their businesses.

The best example to illustrate social entrepreneurship is Bangladesh’s Grameen Bank which is founded by 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Professor Muhammad Yunus. Grameen Bank provides loans to the rural poor to stimulate businesses and reduce rural poverty in Bangladesh. Another example is British celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Project. The project aims to help disadvantaged youths by creating better futures for themselves through the art of good food. 

In Malaysia, social entrepreneurship field is growing rapidly with the involvement of many Malaysians who wish to build businesses with the potential to impact the society positively. There are about 70 registered social enterprises in Malaysia which are mostly consumer-based associations, youth programs, animal protection bodies and publications. As social enterprises are mostly philanthropic, they grow rather slowly.

Hence, several bodies in Malaysia including Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC) and Genovasi are established to provide support to these social enterprises. The Malaysian Government has allocated RM20 million in the Malaysian Social Enterprise Blueprint 2015-2018 to support local social entrepreneurs.

Social Entrepreneurship in Gift Shops

In the Social Enterprise Corner of Petrosains’s XPLORASI Gift Shop and PETRONAS Twin Towers Gift Shop, we have been featuring several local products from social enterprises which are available to the public for purchases which are available to the public for purchase. The products are from, Simply Cookies (home-baked cookies), Earth Heir (jewelry, bags, and scarves) and Magicbird (children’s books).

Projek 57 (locally made cotton T-shirts and merchandises with meaning messages about Malaysia)

Green Yards (eco-cleaning products and eco-candles), Seven Tea One (chemical-free herbal infusion teas)

Biji-Biji Initiative (furniture made of recycled materials)

Social Enterprises’ Workshops

We, Petrosains supports social entrepreneurship by collaborating with social enterprises through our project, The GOOD Workshop series. The GOOD Workshop is an all-new after hour program to bring life-centric learning experiences to the socially conscious community. These workshops are held fortnightly on Wednesday evening. Petrosains had conducted several interesting workshops with several social entrepreneurship. For example, in collaboration with Biji-Biji Initiative, Petrosains had organized Mereka Workshop which focused on creating a motion sensing light with basic coding. Apart from that, along with Green Yards, Petrosains organized a DIY Eco-Soaps workshop where participants learned on making soaps made from used cooking oils. 

Shared by Celine Woon
Guest Blogger

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