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Last week I participated in the Global Entrepreneurship Community Conference and bore witness to the fantastic ideas generated by twenty social impact initiatives convened by Mission & Co’s FRSA Shariha Khalid.

I could not help but wonder what William Shipley would have thought of the RSA’s participation in the Global Entrepreneurship Community 2016  in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia last week. I am sure he would suggest that the East India Company is somehow involved and yet, this could not be further from the truth.

As a founding member of ASEAN, Malaysia is a major economy in the region with sustained economic growth of 7% per year over the past 25 years. According to the World Bank, this growth has been inclusive since it has also contributed to significantly reducing poverty. In 2010, Malaysia committed to attain high income status by 2020 via its New Economic Model. It has asserted that its current growth path must be both sustainable and inclusive.

With this in mind, the government is determined to create an army of entrepreneurs dedicated to both the economic and social development of the country.

Under the patronage of the Malaysian Treasury Secretary General, Tan Sri Dr. Mohd Irwan Serigar Bin Abdullah, and the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Najib Razak, the Global Entrepreneurship Community welcomed participants from Malaysia, the ASEAN region and all over the world to GEC2016. As the advanced economies of the world go from one existential crisis to another, the ASEAN region and in particular Malaysia is committed to sourcing practical solutions to global problems. Under the theme of "Reimagine the Future of Entrepreneurs”, 1200 cluster practitioners, policy makers, corporate leaders, entrepreneurs and community champions gathered at the GEC2016  to look at critical challenges, future trends and behaviours and exchange experiences.

As part of Mission & Co’s twenty impact initiatives at GEC2016 which included Future Food, Living Habitat and Green Cities. I participated in the session on Alternative Education which centered on everyone’s inalienable right to an education which will equip them with the tools to live their most creative and full life. This vibrant group of passionate social entrepreneurs and innovators were keen to confront urgent local and global problems related to Education and devise initiatives which enriched learning for life for all - one innovative idea at a time.

 

Some of the common themes which emerged from the discussion were about access to educational opportunities, the lack of creativity in education and the need empowerment/coaching amongst students, teachers and within the family unit.

Along with the initiatives co-created by the Alternative Education Cluster, four other impact initiatives will be further developed and the GEC2016 organizers hope to engage social entrepreneurs throughout the ASEAN region and the rest of the world to progress these ideas into action.

We may be a long way from a Covent Garden coffee house but I’m sure that William Shipley would be proud to see ordinary people harnessing their power to create a better future for themselves and their fellow citizens.

The RSA is exploring growing its model of change around the world, and particularly in ASEAN. After last week it was clear to me that the rumours are true - the 21st century will be an Asian one.


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