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Social Enterprise Blueprint mulled for Sabah

KOTA KINABALU (Oct 31): The Sabah Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation (KSTI) is planning to formulate and develop a Social Enterprise Blueprint for Sabah next year.

Its permanent secretary, Datuk Mohd Hanafiah Mohd Kassim, said this blueprint will encompass suitable guidelines and strategies to promote and accelerate the growth and enhancement of social enterprise (SE) activities.

“It is hoped that through this blueprint, this sector can make an effective contribution to the state’s development and have a global impact.

“The state government will continue to support and assist social enterprises because this sector contributes to the social innovation and socio-economic development agenda of the country.

Recognizing the potential and importance of social enterprises in the state, KSTI intends to enhance the credibility of social enterprises through government regulations and policies.

“The ministry hopes that a large number of existing social enterprises with good innovations, products and services, especially in Sabah, can thrive through programs such as the Community Hub – Social Enterprise World Forum (SEWF) and SEWF Kota Kinabalu,” he said in a statement, referring to the recent SEWF23 Community Hub event held at the Sabah International Convention Centre.

Hanafiah added that SEWF23 successfully generated interest, educated, and raised further awareness about social innovation, Sabah and Malaysia’s social enterprises, and global-level activities. 

Regarding the event, the Sabah Creative Economy and Innovation Centre (SCENIC) collaborated with SEWF Amsterdam to bring diverse perspectives from around the world to the community, especially in Sabah.

The programme’s advisor, Dr Sharifah Nurafizah Syed Annuar, stated that the event not only addressed international social enterprise issues but also discussed and analyzed local issues, especially in Sabah.

“Held for the first time in Sabah, the event also presented prestigious awards known as the SE Kinabalu Awards to elevate local social enterprises and institutions that have made significant contributions in supporting this ecosystem.”

The Programme Director of SEWF23 from SCENIC, Nur Suhailah Mohamad, said that the support received from participants and stakeholders, not only from Sabah but also from Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia, made this year’s SEWF Community Hub Kota Kinabalu programme more meaningful and inclusive, without forgetting the involvement of rural residents.

“The programme not only strengthens collaboration networks among participants, social entrepreneurs, and potential investors but also focuses on capacity building and assistance to beneficiaries at the grassroots level within and beyond Sabah.

“Awareness of social entrepreneurship is growing, and the support from the state government, especially from government departments and agencies, demonstrates the potential of SEWF as a movement capable of driving grassroots innovation and prioritising the welfare of beneficiaries. This way, our land becomes more sustainable in terms of both the economy and the environment.”

Viviantie Sarjuni, the general manager of SCENIC, responsible for bringing this international collaboration, emphasised that the success of collaborating with international entities like SEWF Amsterdam is crucial in bringing foreign investment opportunities to assist social innovation and social enterprises in Sabah.

Transforming its status as one of the poorest states in Malaysia may be achieved through social innovation and social enterprise, ensuring that grassroots economics remain active and field challenges can be addressed with technology and innovation.

SEWF23 Community Hub Kota Kinabalu is not only a focal point at the national level in Malaysia but also one of the 25 countries that successfully obtained a SEWF broadcasting licence from Amsterdam.

The SEWF23 Community Hub Kota Kinabalu initiative receives full support from the Sabah Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation (KSTI) and is also supported by other entities such as the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), the Department of Industrial Development and Research (DIDR), Sabah Tourism Board, and Qhazanah Sabah Berhad.

Organisations that actively work at the grassroots level, such as the Sabah Techpreneur Association (SATA) and Sabah Social Entrepreneur & Eco Development (SEED), and MEREKA also contributed to the launch of this programme.