GKP's Young Social Entrepreneurs spokespersons got a taste of fame when they appeared on "Hello-On-Two", an English breakfast talk show on Malaysia's national channel - TV2, in early August.
Speaking on the topic "Business with A Purpose - Young Social Entrepreneurs and the Community", GKP spokesperson Anthony David provided a holistic view on the concept of social enterprise and how a social enterprise differs from project work and NGOs. Stating clearly that social enterprises are self-sustainable as they generate a revenue, Anthony dispelled the idea that social enterprises are similar to NGOs, which are often dependant on funding and grants, and unable to continue operations once funding is withdrawn or exhausted.
GKP also invited Global Young Social Entrepreneurs Competition entrant Mohd Rustam Roshandin and social entrepreneur Fara La'jam to join the panel discussion to provide practical views and first-hand experience on running a social enterprise.
Rustam initiated KL Downtown, a night bazaar that provides job opportunities for former drug addicts. A former drug addict himself, Rustam started the bazaar with the intention of giving former drug addicts a second chance and providing them with something to do from 10pm to 4am every day - a time when most of them are highly likely to relapse.
Fara, a "business woman with a hair salon on a bus", combines hair styling with a retail business (selling handicrafts and local snacks made by single mothers and the disabled community) and also dispenses community messages in her bus. She employs and trains underprivileged women, such as single mothers, former drug addicts and Muslim converts.
Incorporating a very strong youth feel into the discussion, Fara and Rustam candidly spoke about their experiences in running a social enterprise - from their challenges to their successes and their hopes for expansion.
The two young social entrepreneurs listed their challenges mainly as funding, mentorship and having people believe that their social enterprise will be able to make a difference in their community.
The feedback from the public was overwhelmingly positive. The talk-show invited callers to call in to speak to the panelists and provide their view on social entrepreneurship. Many callers were excited and enthused about the concept of social enterprise and provided Fara and Rustam with encouragement.
The session ended with Anthony inviting Malaysian social entrepreneurs to be part of the Global Young Social Entrepreneurs' Competition, which is being organised by GKP. Competition winners will be sponsored to attend the Young Social Entrepreneurs Forum to be held at GK3 here in Kuala Lumpur form 11-13 December.