Hong Leong Bank Berhad (‘HLB’ or ‘the Bank’) is lending its support to empower social enterprises in Malaysia to be sustainable as part of its corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme under the HLB Jump Start CSR platform. The Bank launched Demi Kita, a campaign under HLB Jump Start that aims to highlight the important work that social enterprises do and their need to be sustainable as a viable business entity.
A finding published on the World Economic Forum platform found that close to 50% of social enterprises surveyed in Mexico will not make it to the third year. The insights from this research, which is applicable to other countries such as Malaysia, find that these social enterprises fail due to a lack of resources, funding, knowledge, business know-how and the infrastructure to run a profitable business to sustain their cause. When these social enterprises fail, the end recipients of the causes will fail to receive the benefits, such as those looking for education to better themselves, working opportunities to support families as single parents, or championing environmental causes.
Domenic Fuda, Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of HLB said HLB Jump Start’s Demi Kita campaign is a showcase of how the Bank will help social enterprises to meet their social objectives by helping them to run a viable long-term business.
“As a Bank with a strong entrepreneur spirit and long-term commitment to giving back to our local communities, we believe that we can make a difference by championing Malaysians who are creating positive impact by improving social and environmental conditions in the country. We want to equip them to run their social enterprises in a sustainable manner through their innovation, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit.
“At HLB, we have the business and financial know-how, the network, the entrepreneurial acumen, the digital platforms, the products and services, as well as the drive to help these social enterprises to be sustainable for the long term so that they can support the social issues that mean so much to the community,” said Fuda.
HLB Jump Start ‘Demi Kita’ features the Bank’s first collaboration with social enterprise SURI, a denim upcycling organisation that turns unwanted denim into fashionable handbags, backpacks, totes and household items. SURI is set up by single mother Sally Ahmad to provide financial opportunity and living skills for single and underprivileged mothers in her hometown in Klang, as well as protecting the environment through upcycling.
Sally Ahmad said the biggest challenge for her social enterprise is sustainability. “While SURI has had a great start with funding and mentorship from a social enterprise start-up programme two years ago, like any other business, and more so with social enterprises, we find ourselves struggling with managing the business profitably. I am a one-woman show and I do almost everything, which includes designing, cutting of the fabric, managing the workshop with single mothers and running the sale of our products.
“I know that I need mentorship and help to improve my business and financial management skills as well as updating product designs and branding. These are the aspects of the business that I don’t have expertise in. I am glad that Hong Leong Bank is aware of social enterprises’ struggles and are extending their help to SURI,” she said.
HLB Jump Start works with other like-minded partners to provide targeted assistance to social enterprises, so that they can benefit in a meaningful way. For the collaboration with SURI, HLB Jump Start has partnered with brand agency Naga DDB Tribal and local designer group Tarik Jeans to help SURI look into its marketing, branding and product design needs accordingly.
“HLB Jump Start will help SURI elevate its business model to the next level, through better financial management and branding initiatives so that it is able to reach out to a wider customer segment beyond the Klang Valley. By giving them the right tools to build a sustainable business, SURI will be able to provide more single mothers the opportunity to earn a living for themselves with pride,” said Fuda.
Members of the public who are interested to donate unwanted denim/jeans for SURI as materials for the business can do so between 24 to 30 September at selected Hong Leong branches nationwide which are listed at: www.hlb.com.my/demikita
This campaign is the beginning of more things to come for HLB Jump Start. Social Enterprises who are looking for support in sustaining their business and cause can write in to: firstname.lastname@example.org
To view the campaign reel, please visit: www.hlb.com.my/demikita