These 2 Entrepreneurs Are Finding Ways To Help Disadvantaged Communities Amidst The Covid-19 Crisis
“Am out running deliveries now, will get back to you when I get home, if that's OK?” reads Malisse Tan’s text message to me.
Like many small business owners at this point in time, she’s had to work harder and faster to keep up with the increased demand in online orders for her brand BOBBLE’s sustainable organic cotton period products.
While the adverse effects of Malaysia’s movement restriction order have taken a toll on businesses across the board, Tan’s concerns are for those within vulnerable communities – arguably the worst hit by this ongoing health crisis.
Working closely with the Women’s Aid Organisation, BOBBLE will be providing 3 months’ supply of sanitary pads to women and girls residing in WAO's safe houses and shelters during this time, with plans to continue these efforts in more sustainable ways even after the movement restriction order is lifted.
"As a mother of a young daughter, a cancer survivor and an advocate of women's rights, I believe in paying it forward to the community," says Tan, who is founder and CEO of BOBBLE. “If we are blessed, we need to bless others. If we have some power, it should be our duty to empower somebody else.”
"BOBBLE's organic cotton tampons with biodegradable applicators will be available later this year. Our products are available on subscription for convenience so menstruators will never run out – or have to run out."
“We cannot expect to sit back and let businesses take the hit, or expect the government alone to help the people with stimulus packages,” Generation T 2017 honouree Francesca Chia says of the current climate.
“It shouldn’t be just restaurant owners fighting to shift their operations to deliveries, but rather delivery platforms have to see how we can support them in this time of need.”
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A familiar face in the startup scene, the founder of delivery and errand services platform GoGet was herself inspired by the goodwill and selflessness that she witnessed among the SME community and in her own team at GoGet.
So when the news broke that Kechara Soup Kitchen was forced to close its doors during the movement restriction order, GoGet riders were mobilised to help the social enterprise deliver meals to the homeless in Kuala Lumpur, thanks to the generous sponsorship of KFC Malaysia.
“If one side gets hit “big”, we all fail, because it will put our interconnected economy to a halt. But if many of us slice it up and take a small hit to spread it across, we might be able to get by just a little bit better,” says Chia.
At this time, GoGet is also working to help local businesses that do not have a delivery mechanism stay afloat via discounted delivery services and other meaningful initiatives.