Hong Leong Bank (“HLB” or the “Bank”) under its CSR platform HLB Jumpstart has announced its collaboration to help yet another social enterprise to be more sustainable. Coffee for Good is a coffee specialist social enterprise founded by Faridah Halani and Dalia A Aziz which aims to uplift youth from the B40 group through an on-the-job training programme. The programme will equip them with coffee knowledge and skills that would make them employable and provide them with job placements as skilled baristas.
The food and beverage industry, and especially coffee culture, has become a booming segment in Malaysia but there’s a shortage of trained baristas. As a local café operator who was facing a shortage of skilled baristas for hire, it became obvious to Faridah that she could bridge her business, her coffee making skills and empower B40 youths to solve the on-going skilled labour problem faced by café owners everywhere.
“Our social cause is focused on the youth, particularly school leavers from the B40 income group who may face limited employment opportunities due to the lack of academic qualification and vocational skills. Empowering them with job skills such as that of a barista, hopefully provides them with a stepping stone to being employed with a stable income,” said Faridah.
Under the HLB Jumpstart programme, Coffee for Good will get a boost in branding and marketing campaign to recruit more trainees, especially on social media, pop-up cafes locations at some of Hong Leong Bank and its affliated companies’ offices, cashless payment facilities and financial knowledge sessions with the Bank’s SME specialists.
Domenic Fuda, Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of HLB said, “The Bank is honoured to be part of the growth of Coffee for Good whose dedication to providing an opportunity for these youth to secure employment and attain financial independence is admirable. Entrepreneurs whose work makes a positive impact on communities resonate with our core values and it is instinctive for the Bank to mobilise our CSR efforts to help these social entrepreneurs succeed, stay sustainable and stay in business for the long term. Our expertise has already borne fruit - we have successfully helped grow two successful social entrepreneurships since the inception of HLB Jumpstart last year and we are inspired to do more,” continued Fuda.
HLB Jumpstart, launched in September 2018, champions Malaysian social enterprises that create positive social impact with the aim of building sustainable businesses through its five pillars: Financial Knowledge, Tools and Digitisation, Branding and Marketing, Commercialization, and Volunteering. Within a year of being established, HLB Jumpstart received recognition at the recent CSR Malaysia Awards 2019 for its strong support on the ecosystem of local social enterprises.
Zalman Zainal, Chief Marketing and Communication Officer of Hong Leong Bank, said, “One of the biggest challenges faced by social enterprises is keeping the business viable, while fulfilling the social cause they are championing. This is where the Bank is able to provide the relevant solutions and opportunities to jumpstart their business and help them grow organically. Through HLB Jumpstart, social entreprises are able to tap into the Bank’s expertise and entrepreneurial acumen, vast business network and digital platforms.”
Prior to Coffee for Good, the Bank had helped grow SURI, an award winning denim upcycling social enterprise that provides skills and financial independence to single and underprivileged mothers. HLB also supported Green Hero which was founded by a group of young environmental activists focusing on eradicating food waste across Malaysia.
Faridah is hopeful that the credibility lend by HLB and increased awareness of their Coffee for Good programme will encourage the youth to take advantage of its potential for employment. She said, “We are thankful to Hong Leong Bank for the opportunity to tap into the Bank’s wealth of business and marketing expertise. We will leverage on the Bank’s network to increase sales and adopt smart digital solutions offered by HLB to increase efficiencies, especially allowing us to use strategic locations at its office buildings to run our coffee business at no cost.”
“We hope more corporate, building management and even individuals looking to expand their CSR activities can support Coffee For Good by providing us with spaces such as building lobbies to set up our pop-up kiosks to train these youth, be it on a short-term, intermittent or long-term basis,” added Faridah.
HLB Jumpstart will continue to support and guide social enterprises as part of the Bank’s efforts towards building vibrant communities. Social Enterprises that are looking for support in sustaining their cause and business can write in to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit https://www.hlb.com.my/en/personal-banking/about-us/csr.html