Social entrepreneurship refers to the practice of combining innovation, resourcefulness and opportunities to address critical social and environmental changes

What is social entrepreneurship?

Social entrepreneurship is the use of entrepreneurial and/or business principles to plan, develop and manage a sustainable business or venture to achieve social goals.

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A well-known example of social entrepreneurship is the Grameen Bank that was established in Bangladesh by Muhammad Yunus.  For his efforts, Muhammad Yunus was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006. Click here for more details. Another very successful case was Jamie Oliver’s fifteen restaurant, which uses the magic of food to give unemployed young people a chance to have a better future by hiring troubled youths and training them to become certified chefs. Click here for more details.

A social entrepreneurship is much more than just a charity for a good cause, or a business to make profit. In essence it requires ingenuity of both, by using a business-like sustainable operating models to provide change to key social problems.

“Social entrepreneurs are not content just to give a fish or teach how to fish. They will not rest until they have revolutionized the fishing industry.” ― Bill Drayton, Leading Social Entrepreneurs Changing the World

Social entrepreneurship in Malaysia

Closer to home, social entrepreneurship is growing from strength to strength thanks to the dedication and ingenuity of concerned Malaysians. Examples include:

  1. Teach for Malaysia is a not-for-profit organization that enlists fresh university graduates and young professionals to commit to teaching full-time in schools that need support.  The programme was started by Keeran Sivarajah Dzameer Dzulkifli, who happens to be a speaker at YLA 2011. Click here for more details.
  2. The brainchild of Cheryl Teh, Project “Light a Home” aims to raise sponsorship to purchase solar-powered light bulbs for members of the Orang Asal (aka Orang Asli) community who do not have access to electricity or who rely on oil lamps or generators for electricity for short lengths of time. Click here for more details.
  3. Gerai Orang Asal markets and sells Orang Asal traditional goods and channels all proceeds back to the artisans in an effort to sustain traditional art forms and provide much-needed income to rural communities. Click here for more details.

Social entrepreneurship is unique, as it requires business-like acumen to make projects

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Past YLA projects

Past participants of YLA have exemplified social entrepreneurship in projects that have included:

  • Creating a channel for rural Malaysian communities to sell local handicrafts to a wider public
  • Collecting excess food from bakeries, restaurants etc. to distribute to the underprivileged
  • Developing a program to help orang asli additional income through odd jobs in nearby towns. The video below was taken by the YLA team after running a few very successful pilot engagements:

The Youth Leadership Academy aims to equip aspiring young Malaysians with skills and coaching that will enable them to become successful leaders of change.