Picha Project: Empowering Refugee Families in Malaysia

Picha Project: Empowering Refugee Families in Malaysia

Malaysia is one of Asia’s great melting pots, with diverse representation from many Asian countries and cultures. From native Malay to Indian, Chinese and more, Malaysia brings amazing food to the dinner table. It is also home to over 150,000 refugees and asylum-seekers.¹

23-year old Swee Lin Lee and her co-founders, Suzanne Lin and Kim Lim, founded the Picha Project to help refugees find employment and contribute their own culture to the Malaysian mixing bowl.

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Juan Vegh: Breaking down the barriers to social entrepreneurship in biotech

Juan Vegh: Breaking down the barriers to social entrepreneurship in biotech

In the biotechnology industry, there is a significant financial barrier to entry for entrepreneurs. On average, a start-up in biotech needs at least USD $3 million in initial investments in order to bring their product to the market. This prevents countless entrepreneurs from pursuing an idea, separating customers from potentially life-altering advancements in pharmaceuticals, food quality, and more. Through his social enterprise, STÄMM, Juan Vegh is trying to break down this barrier. He is working to democratize access to biotech.

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Bagoré Bathily: Enhancing Food Access Without Traditional Aid

Bagoré Bathily: Enhancing Food Access Without Traditional Aid

From halfway across the globe, Bagoré Bathily, founder of La Laiterie du Berger, told me about an interesting paradox: In Senegal, a country that lies along the coast of West Africa, the rural half of the population survives largely on the produce of their cattle. Despite the abundance of locally produced milk, the urban half of the country is consuming yogurt—a staple in the Senegalese diet—made almost exclusively from imported, powdered milk. From Bagoré’s perspective, this was a nagging contradiction. It led him to build a company that is now providing locally produced, nutritious yogurt for the population while simultaneously increasing quality of life for cattle breeders who depend upon agriculture to survive.

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Kuhan Pathy: The Food Truck for Malaysia’s Homeless

Kuhan Pathy: The Food Truck for Malaysia’s Homeless

Over the last five years, the food truck industry has become a global phenomenon. Malaysia is one country at the forefront of this trend, especially in the nation’s capital, Kuala Lumpur.

However, when you think “food truck” you probably don’t think “charitable” or “social impact.” But what if eating from a food truck also helped to give back to society? Well, Masala Wheels does exactly that. Launched in October of 2015 as Malaysia’s first social enterprise food truck, Masala Wheels sells affordable, flavorful, Indian food and uses 100% of their net profits to feed the homeless.

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Michelangelo Cestari: Empowering a nation with food 

Michelangelo Cestari: Empowering a nation with food 
“You go to some cities in Latin America and the people there say the best restaurants are Italian, Spanish or French. Why is that? It’s evidence of a lack of confidence, but now 100% Bolivian products are trendy. That generates something that money cannot buy. It is an intangible asset—pride.”

Located in La Paz, Bolivia, Gustu (Quechua for “flavor”) is a fine dining restaurant with a twist. The restaurant was started by Melting Pot Bolivia, a nonprofit organization established to promote Bolivia’s biological diversity and cultural heritage. Its aim is to leverage gastronomy to grow national development and pride for Bolivian people. The CEO of Gustu, Michelangelo Cestari, is committed to this mission and has grown Gustu to include a variety of programs that impact the entire gastronomic sector in Bolivia, from development of the workforce to supply chain strengthening.

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