Biji-Biji Initiative Sdn Bhd.
Biji-Biji was established in 2013 as a social enterprise, with the mission of turning waste into valuable items. To date, it has four production lines. Three of them (Ethical Fashion, Circular Solution and Energy) are currently run like a traditional social enterprise and could transition into a social enterprise initiative. The fourth production line, Mereka Makerplace, operates more like an NGO providing training to B40 (and other) people.
Ethical Fashion turns waste banners and seat belts into bags, accessories and apparels. Essentially these things are produced when an order comes in. Single mothers are trained by Biji and make the products at home. Circular Solution turns plastic waste into products for daily use such as coasters, place mats and cup holders. Biji-Biji trains members of indigenous Malaysian communities (orang asli), such as the Tioman at the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia, and gives them a machine to segregate and break the plastic, and make products out of it. The energy business line is currently used more for awareness raising. It would have to be redesigned to become a sustainable business line. The company’s management is considering transitioning the social enterprise into an Inclusive Business. While keeping the overall objective of recycling waste, the new Biji-Biji would produce very different products.
The company currently sources from only 230 households and under the current business model, this number will not increase substantially by 2023. If, however, the company decides to transition to an inclusive business model, it would be able to provide income opportunities to 1,300 households by 2023. Currently, the B40 people earning income from Biji Biji are paid RM15 to RM20 an hour, which is 50 per cent more than market rate. With the new model, this good social depth will not change but many more B40 people will benefit. Under the current business model, the company has introduced means to improve the income of the poor. The current business of Biji-Biji can be considered as a social enterprise, and would not qualify as IB due to its low commercial, social reach and innovation rating. However, given the high IB strategic intend of the company, the company (and the B40) would strongly benefit from transitioning into an IB model.