MaGIC pushes social entrepreneurship forward through SEHATI
By Anushia Kandasivam November 14, 2016
- Malaysian initiative encourages social enterprise movement across country
- Almost 200 investors across Asia attend demonstration day versus 30 last year
SEHATI, the social enterprise initiative from the Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre (MaGIC) concluded its nation-wide year-long roadshow on Nov 12, with the SEHATI Grand FINALE 2016.
The event gathered promising social entrepreneurs at a marketplace where they could showcase the results of their hard work over the year as well as share highlights and challenges of their journeys. All participants have undergone MaGIC’s Social Entrepreneurship Accelerator Programme.
The SEHATI programme was established to raise awareness of the opportunities and benefits of social entrepreneurship and to encourage mass participation in the movement on a national level. It is also part of MaGIC’s efforts to support the national Social Enterprise Blueprint 2015-2018, a strategic roadmap for developing the social entrepreneurship sector in Malaysia.
Knowledge and awareness
According to MaGIC CEO Ashran Ghazi (pic, right), the movement of awareness that SEHATI brought across the nation is important for the public to be educated to the fact that social entrepreneurship is still business, albeit one that has a social impact.
“Labels may be bad sometimes, but in this case it is good to give these businesses visibility and allow people to associate them with social change,” he says, adding that as visibility gets better, more entrepreneurs are joining the SEHATI programme and MaGIC is seeing more conversions of people attending the awareness events and taking the first step to starting their own social enterprise.
While knowledge among the potential entrepreneurs is growing, MaGIC Social Entrepreneurship (MaGIC SE) executive director Ehon Chan, says that awareness among investors also looks promising – there were almost 200 people from across Asia at SEHATI’s investor demonstration day this year compared to an attendance of 30 last year.
“I’ve been invited to a lot more impact investor conferences around the region, which I see as evidence of people seeing Malaysia as a country that can incubate legitimate social enterprises that have a lot of investment potential,” he adds.
In the Malaysian ecosystem, more social enterprises have been attracting investments. Chan revealed that 25 of the startups that went through MaGIC’s Social Enterprise Accelerator Programme last year raised more than US$233,000 (RM1 million) in investment, a good amount given that they are small social enterprises.
“The most surprising thing about this was that most of these were private investors who had never invested in a social enterprise before, so it was an experiment for them,” adds Chan.
Impact investment is two-fold – investors look at social impact and capital impact. Ashran explains that there are investors who evaluate a potential investment for their balance of business viability and social impact as well as those that do not mind a minimal return on their investment knowing that the business will make a sustainable social or environmental impact.
“Matching the right investor with the right social enterprise is very important,” he says.
Ashran revealed that MaGIC SE’s focus now is to find a cost-efficient way to scale the success SEHATI has had with awareness among potential entrepreneurs and investors as well as the conversion rate of entrepreneurs with an idea to legitimate social enterprise.
The more social enterprises that result from SEHATI will mean exponential growth of awareness of social entrepreneurship in the country, which will in turn catalyse growth of more social enterprises.
“We also want to ensure the lead generation of social entrepreneurs we now have will be able to scale up their businesses while at the same time sustaining their social causes and inspire new entrepreneurs,” says Ashran.
“We don’t have the perfect answer yet, but that keeps us constantly thinking about the best ways to do things for the greatest impact.”