On 11th March, we hosted our first-ever Circle of Angels event where we brought together representatives of 4 of our partner social enterprise, our guardian angels, prospective investors for an evening of sharing, inspiration and learning. The event was organized as the final event for line-up for the International Women’s Week, where we championed women’s right to equality in access to investments, in the field of entrepreneurship and in corporate life. .
At the event, we were honoured to be joined by The Batik Boutique, Colorsilk, Krakakoa, and Torajamelo, where they shared the stories of their ventures and the social impact that they are creating in their respective communities.
Laia Enrich - The Batik Boutique, Malaysia
Founded by Amy Blair in 2013, The Batik Boutique was born out of friendship between Amy and her Malay friend. Today, it aims to be a social enterprise that disrupts the cycle of poverty in Malaysia, and empowers women to be financially independent. By providing training on making handicrafts, financial literacy programmes and English classes for women, Batik Boutique has helped more than 150 artisans to date achieve financial independence and be able to work from home. The Batik Boutique also has a protection centre that caters to women-at-risk and they will be moving to a bigger facility soon. Laia, project manager with the Batik Boutique shared about their plans for 2017 with great excitement.
Vanntha Ngorn - Color Silk, Cambodia
Our co-founder Laina and Vanntha, founder of Color Silk first met at an ASEAN Social Enterprise seminar, where Vanntha surprised Laina with her determination and focus to make Color Silk an established enterprise that brings positive impact to underprivileged communities in Cambodia. Vanntha first pitched the idea of Color Silk at a McKinsey Business Case Competition, and she has not looked back since. Working with farmers and weavers in the Takeo province, Vanntha provides farmers with the technical assistance to become more productive, and to provide them with market access. 80% of Color Silk’s products are made for export, and they currently have customers from various European countries, Australia and United States as well. By providing training and membership programmes for the weavers in Takeo, Color Silk enables them to become financially independent by selling their products, become market literate and have their own home-based enterprise. Today, Color Silk has 450 member weavers and works with over 350 farmers in the region.
Sabrina Mustopo - Krakakoa, Indonesia
Started by ex-McKinsey consultant Ms Sabrina Mustopo in 2013, Krakakoa has grown exponentially in its business operations and productivity. Based in Lampung, Indonesia, Sabrina is working with chocolate farmers to increase their farming capacities and to ensure higher adoption of sustainable farming practices. After the involvement of Krakakoa, the output of these cacao farms increased 400%, from 200 kg/hectare to 400 kg/hectare. Krakakoa has also successfully increased the incomes of these farmers by 20-30%, by the merit of improvement in productivity levels.
Dinny Jusuf - Torajamelo
Dinny Jusuf founded Torajamelo in 2008 to preserve the traditional weaving practices of Toraja, in Sulawesi - Indonesia. She works directly with weavers under her to support capacity building, and currently has 1000 weavers under her care across Indonesia. The weavers are free to sell the products they make, and to earn an income of their own. Dinny mentioned that she is working with a national agency in Jakarta to boost the Torajamelo brand across the country, as well as to improve on community-based tourism in the region. On top of providing technical assistance to the weavers, Dinny and Torajamelo are working hard to expand other sources of income for the women weavers they impact.
After hearing the inspiring stories of these women and their social enterprises, our co-founder, Audrey Tan took to the stage and announced exciting news to all who were present. Together with Laina, Audrey launched our Membership Platform, much to the joy of our social enterprises and investors alike. This platform shall bring together our social enterprises with investors and facilitate direct exchange between the two parties, therefore creating greater synergy and greater impact. We invite all our investors, and all those interested, to come on board this platform with us!
It was a fulfilling evening filled with laughter, joy and inspiration. We thank Laina for hosting this event, and to everyone who came down. Thank you for joining the Circle of Angels, and we strive to make our impact greater with your support!