Social Enterprise Education Lab showcases journey of teams in 1st cohort

SEEd.Lab Open House guests, including President & Group CEO PETRONAS, Tengku Muhammad Taufik Tengku Aziz (fourth from right); EVP & CEO Downstream PETRONAS, Datuk Md Arif Mahmood (first from left); Country Head of TCS Malaysia, Jeevan Rajoo (back, white shirt) and CEO of MaGIC, Dzuleira Abu Bakar (second from right) being briefed by a representative from Foodlab Venture on how their social enterprise helps the local foodpreneurs grow their business.

Social Enterprise Education Lab (SEEd.Lab), a programme developed by Petroliam Nasional Berhad (PETRONAS) and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), marked its first Open House on Wednesday, September 23 to showcase the journey of the teams in the first cohort.

Dedicated to addressing youth unemployment whilst leaving a positive impact on communities through social entrepreneurship, SEEd.Lab also supports the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by forging sustainable solutions to manage community pain points and bridge youth employment gaps in Malaysia.

“We have seen a large gap on social enterprise initiatives for job creation in emerging markets like Malaysia, and this is now further intensified by the impact of COVID-19. In line with PETRONAS’ sustainability agenda, SEEd.Lab aims to empower budding leaders and changemakers to address this rising issue and shape a more sustainable future for a better tomorrow,” said Md Arif Mahmood, Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of Downstream, PETRONAS.

“Our partnership with TCS demonstrates our commitment to build on our efforts towards nation-building whilst enhancing partnerships to deliver sustainable value creation. It is our hope that SEEd.Lab will expand through collaborations with other players in supporting the social and economic development of the nation,” he added.

SEEd.Lab is the first initiative of its kind in Malaysia, which incorporates an end-to-end journey that spans over the essential stages of a start-up’s growth. Established in January this year, the programme takes the participants, aptly named SEEd.lings, through the process of ideating their vision and plans, incubating their ideas to build the solutions, and commercialising their social enterprise to scale and grow across the target market. Through PETRONAS and TCS, SEEd.lings can tap into learnings and insights from a panel of industry experts to develop their business models.

“TCS is very happy to be partnering with PETRONAS to develop SEEd.Lab, an open social innovation centre modelled around the TCS Digital Impact Square (DiSQ) that encourages innovation using digital technologies to address social challenges prevalent in the community. SEEd.Lab is the first iteration of DISQ outside of India that will be effecting and affecting change by accelerating the changemakers’ journeys from being ideators to entrepreneurs, researchers or corporate leaders, for the betterment of the Malaysian society,” said Girish Ramachandran, President of TCS Asia Pacific.

From more than 1,000 potential candidates, SEEd.Lab shortlisted 200 applications from graduates and budding entrepreneurs across Malaysia. Three social enterprises have been established to date; Teman, Solvnex and Foodlab that address specific community pain points using digital and technology solutions. Since its inception, the social enterprises were given insights to develop their skill sets through a series of master classes and workshops led by recognised coaches and subject matter experts.

“All around the world and at our home ground, the power of the young is rising, with so much potential and capability to be tapped into. SEEd.Lab wants to be proactive in nurturing these talents through entrepreneurship and creating employment to get ahead of the future challenges in the job market, and there are no better experts to solve this national issue than the young people themselves. The solutions that come out of SEEd.Lab are the results of the passion and perseverance demonstrated by the SEEd.lings in realising one common goal: to enrich lives and give back to the community,” said Aidonna Jun Ayub, Programme Manager of SEEd.Lab.

Currently in its incubation phase, the three social enterprises are expected to achieve commercialisation by Q1 2021.

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