Malaysian social enterprise, Native, beats a global field as one of two winners of SIF-Deutsche Bank Made for Good Award

  • Award seeks to support social enterprises which have shown great resilience & innovation
  • Winners receive S$10k each in recognition of resilience & commitment in challenging times

Daniel Teoh, presenting during the judging process of the Made for Good Award.

The Singapore International Foundation (SIF) and Deutsche Bank have partnered to launch the SIF-Deutsche Bank Made for Good Award. The award seeks to support and encourage social enterprises which have shown great resilience and innovation in adapting their business to deliver on social impact in spite of challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The winning social enterprises were announced on Social Enterprise Day 2021, which honours and raises awareness of cause-driven businesses that provide solutions to address social issues.

Native (Young Social Entrepreneurs Global 2019, Malaysia)

Native is an impact travel social enterprise in Malaysia that empowers the indigenous Orang Asli community to host immersive cultural experiences as a form of livelihood. With the tourism sector at a standstill given travel restrictions, Native started to sell durians sourced directly from its partner communities. The social enterprise became the first indigenously sourced durian brand in Malaysia, with 40 per cent from the sale of durians going directly to its beneficiaries. Native also equipped its partners with basic digital skills and tools and now offers virtual travel experiences, creating a new revenue stream for them.

Daniel Teoh, Founder of Native, said: “It has been great to be part of the YSE network thus far and we are so grateful for this recognition. The award will provide significant support as we continue to empower the indigenous communities in Malaysia, especially during these challenging times.”

The Mitti Cafe team with founder Alina Alam, seated, 2nd from right.

Mitti Café (Young Social Entrepreneurs Regional 2019, India)

Mitti Café is a social enterprise in Telangana, India, that provides employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for adults with intellectual and/or physical disabilities through the establishment of food cafés within institutional spaces. During the pandemic, Mitti Café diversified its revenue stream by relocating its chain of cafés to areas with higher footfall and by collaborating with non-governmental organisations to launch an e-commerce platform that sells products made by their beneficiaries. Mitti Café has also since served at least two million meals to frontline healthcare workers, patients, their families and other vulnerable communities.

Alina Alam, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Mitti Café, said: “We are honoured to be selected as one of the social enterprises to receive the SIF-Deutsche Bank Made for Good Award. We are also grateful for the mentorship and support received over the years as a YSE alumnus. This award will definitely be a huge help in our journey to realise the vision of economic independence and dignity for all.”

The social enterprises will each receive US$7,370 (S$10,000), and publicity support from the SIF. The winners beat other alumni of the SIF’s YSE Global and Regional programmes, comprising more than 1,300 change makers of 42 nationalities. Applicants were required to demonstrate their resourcefulness and innovation in these challenging times and assessed on the sustainability of their business models and social impact.

Jean Tan, SIF’s Executive Director said: “Our YSE alumni have proven to be agile and adaptable in the face of Covid -19. Many have changed their business model or pivoted to provide new products and services to survive this pandemic and serve the vulnerable. We are so proud of them and pleased to be able to support and celebrate them with this award. We are also honoured to be presenting this award with Deutsche Bank, a long-time partner of our YSE programme and a steadfast champion for good business.”

Annie Yeo, Head, Corporate Social Responsibility, Asia, at Deutsche Bank said: “Social enterprises are an important source of social innovation while improving lives and addressing key societal gaps. Too often, social entrepreneurs do not have equal access to the capital and business networks they need to sustain and expand their businesses. As a purpose-driven bank that supports the success of all kinds of entrepreneurial ventures, we believe that by supporting the ecosystem of social enterprises, we can help promote social progress around the world. Social enterprises such as Mitti Café and Native prove that businesses can – and should – do good, and we are proud to support them on their journey today.”

The special award was also created to commemorate the SIF’s 30th anniversary, celebrating three decades of making friends for a better world that saw the YSE programmes bring together changemakers from around the world through social entrepreneurship to network, collaborate, and start up 618 enterprises in Singapore and beyond since 2010. The SIF has so far awarded S$790,000 (US$582,000) in grants to 47 social enterprises through the programmes.

An impact study conducted in YSE’s 10th year found that 75 per cent of social enterprises grew from seed to startup stage and beyond after joining YSE Global, with 70 per cent of shortlisted YSE alumni still active in creating positive social impact and 86 per cent of funded teams still in operation.

Native became the first indigenously sourced durian brand in Malaysia, with 40 per cent proceeds going directly to beneficiaries.

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