From Grassroots to Global Impact: Asia’s Impact-Driven Social Entrepreneurs


Jess Kemp


3 mins read

Asia is currently facing various socio-economic and environmental challenges, including poverty, inequality and climate change. However, amidst these challenges, there is hope. The rise of Asia’s young social entrepreneurs is a true source of optimism and inspiration.

Young people in Asia are often at the forefront of social change and many are motivated to make a difference in their communities. Social entrepreneurship is a path that many of them are choosing to make a positive impact at a grassroots level. By addressing social issues through a sustainable business model, social entrepreneurs are creating solutions that benefit both people and the planet.

In turn, these young leaders are effectively stepping up, combining and embodying the frameworks of both the Sustainable Development Goals and the Inner Development Goals to create a better future for all.

The solution to these pressing issues lies in the hands of the young social entrepreneurs who are passionate about making a difference. Project VISION is a practical example of this. Combining the practices of ‘visioning for the future’ and ‘impact storytelling’, the programme was a collaboration between British Council Malaysia, NeOOne and the Social Enterprise Academy.  It connected young change makers from Malaysia and Scotland to build their climate crisis solution ideas together. The young learners defined their concepts before creating a visual representation – either through video making or another creative outlet. This programme supported them in fostering leadership development and encouraged the participants to think creatively about solving the environmental issues that mattered most to them.

Knowledge-sharing with peers is also a fantastic way to connect young leaders and bring positive social change into the heart of an organisation. In 2020, the Impact Link : Social Enterprise Challenge supported youth-led social enterprises in Pakistan to scale their innovative solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic. A collaboration between the Social Enterprise Academy, Youth Co: Lab, (an initiative co-led by UNDP and Citi Foundation), The Scottish Government, UNDP Pakistan, DEMO and SEED Ventures.

G N Raghu was one of the social entrepreneurs who participated in the programme. Bags’N Stories, their social enterprise, is empowering women in rural areas by providing them with a sustainable source of income through high-quality cotton bags and products. With a focus on organic materials and sustainable alternatives, they are also addressing environmental concerns. With support from mentoring during Impact Link, the organisation has been able to reflect on their strengths and weaknesses, compartmentalise their efforts and improve their relationships with stakeholders. Financial support has allowed them to expand into new product lines and open a second unit. By using tools such as PESTLE and SWOT analysis, Bags’N Stories is better equipped to handle challenges and make a positive impact within the community.

The upcoming 2023 AVPN Conference will be a fantastic platform for Asian leaders to converge, ideate and highlight hotspots and critical challenges that demand concerted and collaborative action. With Indonesia and India’s upcoming G20 Presidency, along with regional forums such as ASEAN, we are seeing the importance of and the power of Asian Leadership to develop the roadmap for better and bolder policy reforms in social investment and sustainable finance.

As philanthropic organisations, advocates and investors – it is our responsibility to recognise and support the rising young social entrepreneurs who are shaping the future of Asia. Let us use the 2023 AVPN Conference as an opportunity to invest in them, encourage them and collaborate with them to build a better world – the world they are going to inherit.

Find out more about our current work with AVPN, empowering young change makers in Asia through the Jugaad programme.


A. Environmental Stewardship
To protect the environment, we organize programmes like mangrove nursery and Reforestation, Coastal and River Clean-Up, Community Based Environmental Solid Waste Management, Environmental IEC Campaign and Eco-Academy

B. Food Security and Sustainable Livelihood
To ensure a sustainable livelihood for the community, eco-tourism include Buhatan River Cruise Visitor Center Buhatan River Mangrove Boardwalk are run by the community. Others include Organic Vegetable and Root crops Farming, Vegetable and Root crops Chips and by-products Processing and establishing a Zero waste store.

C. Empowered Communities
To empower the community, we provide product and Agri-Enterprise Development Training, Immersion and Learnings Exchange Program, Earth Warrior Training and Community Based Social Entrepreneurship Training


Jess Kemp

International Partnerships Manager SEA

Jess Kemp is International Partnerships Manager with the Social Enterprise Academy, where she develops partnerships with impact-driven organisations around the world. She collaborates across these partnerships to create learning and development programmes for social entrepreneurs and changemakers across the globe, strengthening the impact sector and building capacity and networks for those that want to change the world for the better. To reach out to Jess, please contact [email protected]

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