MaGIC’s Social Entrepreneurship Demo Day sees promising enterprises, aims to address social and environmental issues in Malaysia

Dayana Sobri
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Social entrepreneurs were mentored for four months by Google Head of Technology Prashant Pathmanaban and UNICEF Innovation Lead Chelsey Lepage, among others


The Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre (MaGIC) recently held a Social Entrepreneurship (SE) Demo Day at MaGIC’s campus in Cyberjaya, Malaysia to mark the second cohort’s successful conclusion of its SE Accelerator Programme.

Officially launched by Dr. Irwan Serigar Abdullah, Secretary General of Treasury from the Ministry of Finance alongside MaGIC CEO, Ashran Ghazi on May 5, 2016, the MaGIC Accelerator Programme aims to grow a community of regionally-focussed startups and build a community of social enterprises to solve some of the nation’s most pressing social issues.

At the Demo Day, 23 social enterprises who had successfully completed the four-month SE Accelerator Programme presented to a room of venture philanthropists and impact investors.

Also Read: Malaysia to host first Global Entrepreneurship Community in KL, aims to transform the nation

Among the most innovative social enterprises that presented at the Demo Day were The Picha Project (KL-based SE which empowers marginalised groups in Malaysia by providing them a platform to cater food to the public), Loo Urban Farm (Penang-based SE that focuses on sustainable vertical urban farming to reduce carbon footprint and global warming as well as to minimise farm land), Seven Tea One (a Selangor-based fair-trade tea company which aims to empower farmers and underprivileged communities by incentivising rural and urban farms), Therapility (KL-based online platform that offers carers with access to rehabilitation techniques and materials from around the world), and Kayu Besi (a Selangor-based SE which aims to reduce waste by turning industrial wood pallets into home and commercial furniture products).

During MaGIC’s SE Accelerator Programme, social entrepreneurs were mentored for four months by leading industry experts such as Google Head of Technology Prashant Pathmanaban, UNICEF Innovation Lead Chelsey Lepage, Biji-Biji Co-Founder/CEO Rashvin Pal Singh, and Start Some Good Manager of Global Partnerships Stephanie Arrowsmith.

Each social entrepreneur also received RM30,000 (US$7414) of seed funding to support a pilot of their ideas, as well as monthly stipend, allowance for return flights, accommodation, and working space.

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The SE Track is the first in Malaysia aimed at accelerating the development and growth of innovative startups with technologies, products or solutions that will address social or environmental issues and build a sustainable future for Malaysia.

The landmark programme received almost 400 applicants for the second cohort – only six per cent was shortlisted and they come from the following states: Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Kelantan, Sarawak, Pahang, Sabah, and Penang.

The programme was developed to build the next generation of ASEAN startups and a pioneering group of Social Enterprises.

“We developed the SE Accelerator Programme to unleash the potential of social enterprise for the greater good of communities across Malaysia. This cohort has been an inspiration to me and I hope they will similarly be an inspiration to others. This will help us build a community of social entrepreneurs who as a movement can drive long-term benefit to society and the economy,” said Ashran Ghazi, Chief Executive Office at MaGIC, in a press statement.

Also Read: Penang tech mafia Curry Khoo on growing a startup community in Penang and launching Second Startup

Applications for the third cohort closed on June 27 and the programme will commence on August 22.

MaGIC set up its Social Entrepreneurship unit in 2014. Since then, it has developed the Malaysian Social Enterprise Blueprint, a three-year strategy to develop the SE ecosystem in Malaysia. MaGIC also awarded RM1.3 million (US$320,000) to nine social entrepreneurs last year through the Amplify Awards, which was its commitment to make Malaysia the regional leader for people economy.

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