KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 23): AirAsia has opened its first permanent social enterprise hub today, the fruit of a two-year effort to promote products from over 30 social enterprises around Asean.
The hub, Destination: GOOD, now retails more than 400 responsibly and ethically produced goods by these enterprises, with the aim of fostering collaboration between social entrepreneurs and community-based organisations.
Its new home, REXKL — formerly the iconic Rex Cinema located close to tourist hotspot Petaling Street — is well-known as a creative and entrepreneurial hub among members of the community in Kuala Lumpur.
AirAsia Foundation executive director Yap Mun Ching, in her opening speech, shared that the foundation’s objective of growing social enterprises in a sustainable manner, in line with the vision of the reputable airline brand.
“We realised that to expand our reach, we needed to create broad-based platforms to speak to new markets and audiences.
“Through Destination: GOOD, we hope to do just that and make social enterprise goods and services accessible to anyone seeking sustainable travel and lifestyle solutions,” said Yap.
Also gracing the event was Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.
To date, AirAsia foundation has provided 26 grants to enterprises from seven countries with an average of US$20,000 received by each grantee for a one-year period, Lim noted at the launch of the enterprise hub.
That has trickled down to benefit 100 persons engaged by each of the enterprise on average, he said.
“I have been told this number will rise with cooperation from Kraftangan Malaysia, an agency under the Ministry of Tourism, Art and Heritage,” said Lim.
The philanthropic arm of AirAsia is also partnering Minconsult Sdn Bhd to jointly fund social enterprise outreach activities in the city.
“AirAsia Foundation is investing RM2.1 million as part of this initiative in the next two years… I welcome [the] social enterprise support network, which includes a grant programme, mentorship and now a physical store, as it complements our efforts in the public sector to fill the gaps,” he added.