Cultivating Social Entrepreneurship

436 Taylor’s Business School Students Showcased Their Collaboration with 5 Organizations under Their Community Service Initiative

Social entrepreneurship as defined in Wikipedia is the attempt to draw upon business techniques and private sector approaches to find solutions to social, cultural, or environmental problems. Conventional entrepreneurs typically measure performance in profit, revenues and increases in stock prices, but social entrepreneurs also take into account a positive "return to society".

It is exactly this essence that Taylor’s Business School aspires to cultivate among its students. The School aims to produce purposeful business leaders and thinkers who are able to respond to future challenges, contribute towards the global economy as well as impact society in a positive manner. The focus is on grooming business graduates who can create social values through their business activities, looking beyond profit margins and centering on the value of contributing to the community.

Recently, Taylor’s Business School organized Entrepreneur Day that saw 436 students from the degree and diploma programmes, showcasing their work with five organizations under the social entrepreneurship module. The projects were Sahabat Transformasi Program with Agency Kaunseling & Pengurusan Kredit (AKPK) and Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia (AIM) to increase financial literacy among selected Sahabat AIM; Business Plans presentations to improve existing business and retail merchandise for United Voice (UV); New Product Promotion for Deaf-in-Business (DIB) Coffees of Hawaii; collaboration with RC Deaf Missions Malaysia (RCDMM) for ten weeks to revamp their marketing and business strategies; and a ten-week collaboration with FUGEE School where the Taylor’s Business students mentored and guided their FUGEE mentees to produce, promote and market their products.

For Tan Xin Yee, one of the 148 Bachelor of Arts (Hons) Accounting & Finance students, who was involved in the Sahabat Transformasi Program, the experience was an eye-opener for her. “I have a chance to apply the theory I learnt in the textbook in the real world, in an actual business setting. Usually, we only study the examples and case studies given by the lecturers in class, but this project gave me the opportunity to work with real people and real business, putting theory into practice.” This project has successfully helped 50 small scale entrepreneurs registered under the Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia’s (AIM) micro credit financing scheme, to increase their sales ranging from 20 percent to over 80 percent through better financial management and improved marketing efforts.

“Working with United Voice (UV), a self-advocacy society of people with learning disabilities, was an enjoyable and fulfilling project for me. I have never done any charity related works and I had no idea what it really entails until I participated in this service learning project. I am glad and grateful to my beloved Taylor’s University for the experience and opportunity to work with the inspiring members of United Voice (UV) and to be able to contribute in designing, marketing and selling T-shirts, as well as create awareness of UV during the Entrepreneur Day,” shared Business student Ong Yeap Kai.

The 33 students involved in the community project with Deaf-in-Business (DIB) Coffees of Hawaii, a café run by the hearing-impaired made an impression on Ms. Lim Zoo Sek, a DIB representative. “I am amazed at their originality and enthusiasm running this project and the kiosk we have at the Lakeside Campus,” she said. For the Entrepreneur Day showcase, the students showcased DIB, its objective and its product range.

90 Taylor’s students majoring in Business & Finance and Finance & Economics worked with RC Deaf Missions Malaysia (RCDMM), a non-profit organization that passionately works towards providing career opportunities to the hearing impaired in society by bridging the gap between the hearing and them. On this community service initiative, the students collaborated with RCDMM for ten weeks to revamp their leaflet, proposed improvements on their website, facebook page, and merchandise store, proposed marketing and packaging strategies for their new products, as well as showcasing their business at Taylor’s University Entrepreneur Day. It was heartening that some of the students’ proposals are being adopted.

Another group of 87 Diploma in Business Taylor’s students mentored and guided their FUGEE mentees to source for raw materials, design and paint T-shirts and tote bags, promote and market their products via a specially designed webpage with an online order form. The students shared this experience allowed them to apply their classroom knowledge as well as improve their 5Cs which are communication, critical thinking & problem solving, collaboration, creativity & innovation, and cultural adaptation skills.

The collaborations with the five organizations provides a new breath of marketing ideas while at the same time cultivates social entrepreneurship among the students. Taylor’s Business School students are constantly groomed to use their business acumen to address social issues and develop business solutions to improve quality of life affected communities. This enhances their practical experience in running a business and their 5Cs, as well as improve their social entrepreneurship, shaping them into a purposeful business leaders when they step into their future career paths.